After working in Mumbai for three months, Alex White & Co are ready for their big exhibition this weekend.

Here is how it is described on their website:

The most notorious “slum” in Asia will soon see a maze of sweat shops, recycling work camps, and migrant fueled industries transformed into the “13th Compound”, an art exhibition that brings to the surface the collision of individualist ideals of the “West” with the collective living of a “Slum”. An intervention, exchange and celebration at once, this is the culminating work from Brooklyn-based trio “Artefacting Mumbai”. Short video and video art will be projected in alleyways, murals will blend into rusted corrugated metal, and paintings, photographs and sound installations will transform and redirect Dharavi’s industrial and communal intensity into Mumbai’s newest art district. Artefacting Mumbai is a three-month experiential immersion that uses artistic creation, intervention and documentation to create connections and explore disconnects between the team of outsiders and their Dharavi hosts. 

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Turns out I am related to a “Chasidic superstar”:

According to YouTube,

Chasidic superstar vocalist Isaac Honig is seen here as he entertains the young and old, Russian Jews and chasseidish alike, with a warm tune containing Yiddish words, while his audience continue to work diligently on their Matzos in a Matzah Bakery. BTW, the banging in the background are not the sounds of drums, it’s just Matzah roller sticks!

Don’t Say Nuthin’

Afternoon listening: The Root’s Don’t Say Nuthin’.

I didn’t even realize the chorus had lyrics, but here they are:

“When the SNAKE on the ground with his nine on THE line, with the n***az who grind with King Kong hittin’ Thailand. Give it here, and don’t say nuthin’, just give it here, give it here and don’t say nuthin’…

When the team on the set with the guns gone clap, gettin’ down on everything, hmmm, cut the check. Give it here, give it here and don’t say nuthin’, I’m sayin… give it here and don’t say nuthin’…”

Best Tracks of 2009

Adams Best Tracks of 2009

Somehow with all the excitement at the end of the decade, I neglected to put together my mix of the best tracks of 2009. The mix can be found at 8tracks.com, and the playlist is as follows:

Potion Approaching by Arctic Monkeys from Humbug
The Ancient Commonsense of Things by Bishop Allen from Grrr…
Katherine Kiss Me by Franz Ferdinand from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Airport ‘99 by Iran from Dissolver
Chinese by Lily Allen from It’s Not Me, It’s You
Waving at the Shore by Throw Me the Statue from Creaturesque
Everyday by Vetiver from Tight Knit
What A Rush by Art Brut from Art Brut Vs. Satan
Looking Out by Brandi Carlile from Give Up The Ghost
Little Girl (Ft. Julian Casablancas) by Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse from Dark Night Of The Soul
Knotty Piny by Dirty Projectors & David Byrne from Dark Was the Night
Ulysses by Franz Ferdinand from Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Out of the Blue by Julian Casablancas from Phrazes for the Young
The Fear by Lily Allen from It’s Not Me, It’s You
We Are London by Madness from The Liberty Of Norton Folgate
Plain Material by Memory Tapes from Seek Magic
Lisztomania by Phoenix from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Sometimes by The Rifles from The Great Escape
The Passover by The Soundtrack of Our Lives from Communion
Why Does the Sun Really Shine? by They Might Be Giants from Here Comes Science

Top 20 Songs of the 00’s

That was a hard assignment: go through all of my favorite songs from the past decade and come up with the top 20. Some of the songs are on the list because they’re filled with compelling lyrics and music; others because of the moment that the song is attached with, and the best have both.

I made a playlist of them on 8tracks.com so you can (legally) listen to them and let me know what you think:

My Top 20 Songs of the 00’s from adamhonig on 8tracks Radio.

Here is the list in reverse order:

20. Time To Get Away by LCD Soundsystem from Sound of Silver

Why would I like a song from the mid-2000’s that says “it’s time to get away, it’s time to get away from you” and “I thought you were low man, but the truth is I was shocked”? Must be the great beats and bass.

19. Teddy Picker by Arctic Monkeys from Favourite Worst Nightmare

Still not really sure what this song is all about (various theories found here), but a few great lyrics stick out like:
Assuming that all things are equal
Who’d want to be men of the people
When there’s people like you?
Nonetheless, its extremely catchy and lead singer Alex Turner’s compelling voice make this a top song for me.

18. The Funeral by Band of Horses from Everything All The Time

Mostly I like up-beat, happy songs. and The Funeral clearly isn’t one, but its a beautiful song that does a great job shifting and transitioning between different sounds.

17. Girl by Beck from Guero

Acoustic and electronic, this was the summer song of 2005. I love the way even on Beck’s website the lyrics to the chorus are listed as “Hey, my —— girl” (or at least they were in 2005.)
For me this was the classic anti-Bush, anti-war-in-Iraq song with eventually a full orchestra backing The Decemberists.

15. Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens from Come On Feel The Illinoise!

If you thought The Funeral was a downer, how about a song of a teen-age girl who dies of ‘cancer of the bone’? It always kills me when Sufjan sings “and He takes and takes and takes” referring to the death and Job 1:21. In my book this song is one of the saddest of all time, but extremely beautiful.

14. Paper Planes by M.I.A. from Kala

“All I wanna do is [bang-bang-bang] take your money!” Simple, repetitive, including the sample of a old fashioned cash register closing and so so good.

13. Take Your Mama by Scissor Sisters from Scissor Sisters

Two parts Elton John, one part George Michael this song triggers a ‘get up and dance’ imperative even in straight people. This was the summer song of 2004, but never fails to please.

12. Gold Digger (Feat. Jamie Foxx) by Kanye West from Late Registration

Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger
But she ain’t messin’ wit no broke Niggaz
Do I need to say more? Get down girl, go ‘head, get down.

11. I Predict A Riot by The Kaiser Chiefs from Employment

One of the things I really like about the Kaiser Chiefs is the noises they make between lyrics. This song features a long “aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhggggggggg” right before the final chorus. One of the best versions I heard was performed by 4 Eyes.

10. Moving to LA by Art Brut from Bang Bang Rock and Roll

Perhaps you have never considered a move to L.A., but I seem to have every year right around the first real snow storm. I think Art Brut is hilarious, and even though this song isn’t one of their singles, I think is very catchy and funny. It will always remind me of the aughts.

9. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes from Elephant

I still remember hearing this song for the first time on MTV Europe when I was in Amsterdam, and thinking “what is this?” It was my first exposure to the White Stripes and I was blown away. From there they became one of my (and many other people’s) top bands of the decade. Fell in Love With a Girl, Hotel Yorba, The Denial Twist, Take Take Take, Conquest and My Doorbell would be in the Top 100 Songs of the 00’s list if I made one.
Besides being my introduction to the White Stripes, Seven Nation Army is a top ten song because of its kick ass opening guitar riff, thumping beat and Jack White’s mysterious but compelling lyrics.

8. Barely Legal by The Strokes from Is This It

While Is This It has so many great songs ( including “Hard to Explain”, “Last Nite”, and “Someday”), Barely Legal has always been my favorite track on the album.
I didn’t take no shortcuts
I spent the money that I saved up
Oh, Momma running out of luck
Like my sister, don’t give a fuck
Perhaps it’s the simple lyrics, the simple but catchy guitar, the pace of the song… or perhaps just the use of the ‘f-word’.

7. Australia by The Shins from Wincing the Night Away


Besides being one of the best songs on one of the best albums of the decade, the opening lines to this song were buzzing in my mind the whole time we were waiting for M’bar to arrive:

Born to multiply
Born to gaze into night skies
Before he became addicted to WPTTMAOG (see below) this was M’bar’s song, and I think we played it for him moments after he arrived.

6. 99 Problems by DJ Danger Mouse from The Grey Album

Some have called this song misogynistic and I can see why as Jay-Z does seem to say “I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one” quite a lot in this song. To me he’s just saying that having women in his life isn’t an issue — but almost everything else is.
Anyhow, I’m not really a Jay-Z fan — most of his Black Album sounds to me like he’s rapping over the beats produced by some 16 year old on an old Casio keyboard. But put the sound of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter behind him and you have some kick-ass track. The mix of the “aaahhh” and the thumping bass from the song are ingenious — ‘as loud as a motor bike’ — make Jay-Z’s problems sound real.

5. Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games by Of Montreal from The Sunlandic Twins

If you haven’t heard the opening 30 seconds of this song you are missing one of the best bass lines in 20th century music. It’s arresting. When M’bar crying full throttle (as little kids are wont to do from time to time) we put on this song and he immediately blinks, looks around, stops crying and smiles. It’s like magic. It was a good song before we discovered its magical powers, but now it’s the #5 song of the decade and probably the most listened to song in our collection.
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica
Let’s pretend we don’t exist
Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica
We’ve played this song so many times that Nol said, “that’s a lot of pretending you don’t exist. May not be good for the kid.”

4. She’s A Rejector by Of Montreal from Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

Like Is This It, Hissing Fauna is an album that almost every song is an amazing track and for me may be the top album of the decade. It was hard to pick which one was my absolute favorite track, but She’s A Rejecter jumped out at me for the great bouncy energy of the opening and subsequent verses. When I’ve seen Of Montreal play this song live the whole audience turns into a crowd of Tiggers hopping with the beat.

And then the refrain which slows things down
oh no she’s a rejecter
i must protect myself
there’s the girl that left me bitter
want to pay some other girl
to just walk up to her and hit her
but i can’t i can’t i can’t i can’t i can’t
before the band lets loose with the bounce again.
And who hasn’t wanted to “pay some other girl to just walk up to her and hit her”? I sure have. For quite some time whenever some asked me “if I wanted to …” there was only one answer.

3. Another Sunny Day by Belle and Sebastian from The Life Pursuit

On the surface this is such a happy song, jangling guitars, sweet words about a boy and a girl but then wait “The loving is a mess what happened to all of the feeling?” Turns out it crumbled apart. But that’s not really the point of the song in my opinion. The point was about embracing life, grabbing the sunny day and going forward. That’s what kept it in heavy rotation since its release.
While driving through Boston in traffic a woman in the adjacent car heard Another Sunny Day coming out of my Mini. She found it ‘so beguiling’ that she asked me what it was. I gave her the CD and drove off.

2. Help by Lil’ Wayne from The Carter 3 Mixtape

I first heard of Lil Wayne from my source of all things Hip-Hop, The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones. Jones’ article on Lil Wayne was about his dominating the rap world by releasing free “mix-tapes” of his work on the Internet all while building anticipation for his next album. And we weren’t talking one or two tracks; Lil Wayne was releasing three or four a day. Now here was a marketing strategy worth investigating.
Of the freely released songs, Lil Wayne created a very unique version of The Beatles’ Help. Something about Lil Wayne’s sampling of the classic and his gravely delivery made Veronica and I crazed to learn all the lyrics and quote them often. Here’s the opening lyrics of this short song:
So sick need a doc, yes
A creature, monster like the lockness
I gets hotter by the toc, when I sizzle to death
I just tell the clock give me a sec
Some people will tell you that anyone can rap over The Beatles (see Jay-Z) and sound great; I say let’s see their demo. Until then, this is one of my top tracks.

1. Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand from Franz Ferdinand

So if you’re lonely
You know I’m here waiting for you
I’m just a cross-hair
I’m just a shot away from you
These opening lines were the lyric of liberation for me when it was released in 2004 and they were attached to an amazing song that broke out in so many directions: fast, slow, major and minor key, multiple (different choruses), etc. The overall album was fantastic and Franz Ferdinand were launched on a hype machine of unbelievable proportions.
Listening to the song at the end of the decade shows that it still sounds amazing and fills me with an optimistic energy.

Great Tracks of 2009 Thus Far

Great songs of 2009

I remember when I used to have time to make monthly mixes of new music… My new hobby is awesome and quite a bit of fun, and I still have time to listen to new releases. Not that M’bar’s tastes are the same as mine, but at least he likes Belle & Sebastian.

Meanwhile, 2009 has been a great year for new releases. If 2008 was a bit of a classic rock revival, then 2009 seems to be a bit more experimentally oriented. Of course it could be more about my bias than anything else.

One of the albums that came out of nowhere to jump up very high on the Honig Family playlist is Vetiver‘s Tight Knit, which is somehow fast enough for me, and yet mellow enough for the rest of the family.

The Great Tracks of 2009 Thus Far playlist contains a two of recent favorites (Franz Ferdinand and Lily Allen) plus a bunch of throwbacks: Pet Shop Boys, Chris Isaak, Depeche Mode and Robyn Hitchcock all with strong releases this year. The playlist also features quite a few bands making their first appearance like Iran, Late of the Pier and Biship Allen.

And of course the off-the-wall remake of “It Takes Two”…

Here’s the listing, and hopefully the 8tracks mix (above) is working for you:

The Fear by Lily Allen from the album It’s Not Me, It’s You
Two Takes It feat Carmen Castro (Original Mix) by Mr Oizo from the album Lambs Anger
Like A Hitman Like A Dancer by A.C. Newman from the album Get Guilty
Wrong by Depeche Mode from the album Sounds Of The Universe
Katherine Kiss Me by Franz Ferdinand from the album Tonight Franz Ferdinand
Airport ‘99 by Iran from the album Dissolver
Random Firl by Late Of The Pier from the album Fantasy Black Channel
Intricate Things by Robyn Hitchcock from the album Goodnight Oslo
Everyday by Vetiver from the album Tight Knit
More Of This by Vetiver from the album Tight Knit
Oklahoma by Bishop Allen from the album Grrr…
The Ancient Commonsense of Things by Bishop Allen from the album Grrr…
Drugs by Black Lips from the album 200 Million Thousand
We Let Her Down by Chris Isaak from the album Mr.Lucky (Deluxe version)
Ulysses by Franz Ferdinand from the album Tonight Franz Ferdinand
Who’d Have Known by Lily Allen from the album It’s Not Me, It’s You
Pandemonium by Pet Shop Boys from the album Yes
Sometimes by The Rifles from the album The Great Escape
The Passover by The Soundtrack Of Our Lives from the album Communion

Great Tracks of 2009 Thus Far from adamhonig on 8tracks Radio.