Monday, December 31, 2007

That Year End Music Thing

Okay, people want to know.

I can't tell you what the best releases of the last year were - I'm not qualified to do that. I really don't think anybody is. People are too darned eclectic! If you want to know the top selling albums of last year, look up Billboard charts. I think we can probably agree that "top seller" doesn't necessarily mean "best."

Think about the albums you're going to pull off the shelf years from now and still enjoy. I didn't have as many of those during 2007, but there were a few. So here are my favorite records from the last year.

One time, a friend of mine said that all music reviews could basically be summarized as thus: "Like the bastard lovechild of (so & so) and (so & so) in (name of place) on (altering substance)." So let's do it.

10. The Good, The Bad & The Queen - s/t
"Like the bastard lovechild of Blur and King Tubby in London on downers."

9. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
"Like the bastard lovechild of a young Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin at the Apollo high on the Holy Spirit."

8. Beirut - The Flying Cup Club
"Like the bastard lovechild of Stephin Merrit and Jacques Brel in Paris on cigarettes and coffee."

7. Intramural - This Is A Landslide
"Like the bastard lovechild of the Postal Service and a helluva lot of good singers in outer space on ecstasy."

6. Grinderman - s/t
"Like the bastard lovechild of Jesus Lizard and Johnny Otis in the middle of desert on PCP."

5. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
"Like the bastard lovechild of Billie Holiday and Mary J. Blige in London on whatever she can get her hands on."

4. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
"Like the bastard lovechild of America and Fleetwood Mac in the Caribbean on mary-jane."

3. M.I.A. - Kala
"Like the bastard lovechild of Missy Elliott and Sister Carol in a bangin' 3rd world club on coke."

2. Blanche - Little Amber Bottles
"Like the bastard lovechild of Lee & Nancy and John & Exene in a swamp on moonshine and Jesus."

1. Great Northern - Trading Twilight For Daylight
"Like the bastard lovechild of Frou Frou and Grandaddy in Heaven on absinthe."

And there you go! I'll play all of it when I get back on the air at Little Radio, Monday January 7th from 6-8pm PST. Okay? :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Better Late Than Never

Sometimes you just can't listen to everything when it comes out. Sometimes you don't know about it, don't have the money to get it, haven't gotten around to checking out what your friend may have burned for you, or just flat out missed it the first time around. Hell, maybe you missed it the second or third time around. Anyway, these are some things I was late to the game on, and my life is better for having finally heard them.

Amy Millan - Honey from the Tombs
This record came out mid 2006 by the frontwoman for Stars. A beautiful set of folky, whiskey drenched tunes, on the acoustic side (but the album is done with help from Stars, BSS and other Canadian pals). It's lovely and sad, not too complicated and endearing.

The Mint Chicks - Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!
This was something I found on my trip to Australia last year - frantic Kiwis with melody and spunk to burn. This is what Redd Kross would have evolved into, had they continued evolving. Bubblegum punk tempered by metal riffs in a crazy early 80's Devo-lutionized way that only the kids in Auckland can get so wrong that it's right.

Beirut - everything
Luckily for me, they (or rather, "he") put out a new album this year so I wasn't too far behind the pack... but I don't know how I missed this one. Orchestral cafe pop with melodramatic vocals? I love that stuff! I heard it for the first time at a friend's in Austin while out for SXSW last year - and was capitivated, along with a million other morose popsters.

Honeycut - The Day I Turned To Glass
This is one of those records that sat on my back burner all through 2006. I'd heard a song here or there on KALX, Berkeley when I would listen in from afar, but this past March, when I ran into my friend Bart Bavenport at SXSW, I had to go check out Honeycut. And I was immediately ashamed for not having listened to them sooner. Not only are they a blast live (I've vowed never to miss them again if I can help it) but the record is a tapestry of deeply dark and moody yet intensely groovy funk. Bart's daydream/nightmare lyrics and silky smooth vocals just add to the scary electro soul this album throws out. Amazing stuff.

Snatch and the Poontangs
My girlfriend Heather-Marie (aka Uni & Her Ukelele) used to sing backup for Johnny Otis, but she never told me about this naughty, naughty gem he put out on (you guessed it) 1969 under the name befitting the music most. It's all filthy, dirty r&b, with lotsa trash-talkin' and sex-havin' and murderin' all over the place. Fiddy ain't got nothing on Grampa Otis, that's for damn sure!

I'm sure there's more, but I was definitely obsessed over those things over the last year. More countdown goodness to come...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Song, Song Blue

The ever popular "Best Of" lists... I can't do one. Who am I to judge that sort of thing? But since some of you have asked nicely what I've liked over the course of 2007 , I'll tell you. But not all at once.

Here are a bunch of songs that I really liked this year, and they pretty much all came off releases from 2007 (or kind of towards the end of last year, maybe).

20. Thuggery - You Am I

Drunk Aussies rock out, cleverly, again.

19. Flightless Bird, American Mouth - Iron & Wine
Maybe it's just because he calls himself a "fat house cat" on this one, but I find the song beautiful.

18. Irreplaceable - Beyonce

From now on, whenever I'm done with a guy, it will be expressed by the phrase: "to the left."

17. Detlef Schrempf - Band of Horses
So pretty and sad. I'm a sucker for pretty and sad.

16. Georgia, You Were Right - Sally Jaye
From this local (by way of Georgia) singer's debut, Amarillo, her voice was my favorite to sing along to in the shower, especially when this song came on. Earthy and melodic.

15. Eddie's Raga - Spoon
I like it when Spoon gets groovy, and I dig the line "I'm a slut for the New York Times." Smarty pants!

14. Wild Vanilla - Kristin Hersh
"You messing with my head makes a terrible noise." That clinched it for me.

13. Revival - Soulsavers

Close your eyes and listen... perhaps it's salvation?

12. Apartment Story - The National
His voice is immensely swoonable, and this song is sexy as opposed to too slick (like I find about half of that album).

11. Stronger - Kanye West
Oh please, you danced your ass off too. And this line? "Since Prince was on Apollonia, since OJ had isotoners..." Rad.

10. The Golden State - John Doe
Obviously, swoon factor goes far with me, and there are few voices more swoonable than John Doe's. It's a sad yet rockin' tribute to the aches and pains of love. Sigh...

9. Get It On - Grinderman
Dirty, dirty boys!

8. The Heinrich Maneuver - Interpol
Okay, I liked the record, but I LOVED this single. It just kicks off to a classic Interpol jam and is tight as fuck.

7. Devastation - The Besnard Lakes
A noisily beautiful track that made me remember why I loved that whole shoegazer thing when it was done right.

6. Paper Planes - M.I.A.
How does she do it? It's fun to sing along to, and you can pretend to shoot guns and open cash registers WHILE dancing. Good going, girl!

5. Exodus Honey - Honeycut
This soulful trippy number is all about melodies and "do do dos." It makes me think about lazing on a lounge chair, smoking pot, and ignoring the whole entire world. Nice, huh?

4. Telling Lies - Great Northern
Again, if I enjoy singing along, it makes the list. This one is more intense than other tracks on the record, but I love the motion of the music here. And her voice - gorgeous.

3. Someone Great - LCD Soundsystem
This song just builds so perfectly, is so endearing and bittersweet, all while remaining groovy. Like a good New Order moment. Of which I approve.

2. Go Places - The New Pornographers
I pretty much only like New Pornographer tracks with Neko Case on them. And this is a really good one to (you guessed it!) sing along with.

1. Nights Are Long - Intramural
A gorgeous voice, beautiful music, heartbreaking lyrics - "Here's the part where I drink all the time, here's the part where I tell you I'm fine..." Open a bottle of wine and hit repeat. I did that for about a month.

There you go! Some of my favorite songs of the last year. I'll get around to tossing out more opinions later.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No-No-Nokia (do the Chia Pet song here..)

On Wednesday night I got to see Bjork in the swanky new downtown Nokia Theatre, which was quite nice. Granted my friends and I were lucky enough to be in the 5th row, and 5th row in just about any venue is quite nice, right?

Our favorite part (outside of the show, that is) was the downstairs lounge. No lines for booze = happy Mo & friends! We enjoyed the aquarium like atmosphere until all the lighting turned a lava lamp red - so red that the whites of our eyes actually glowed pink. At first we thought that was management's way of clearing the decks, but it turned out just to be one of the many color changes of the evening. The others were nice yellows, blues, and greens, so the red was a bit, ahem, jarring.

Our second favorite thing about the theatre was the various Nokia displays: the history of the Nokia cell phone, a selection of current Nokia cell phones, and other Nokia stuff for you to poke at. Thing is, didn't the Nokia people realize that more than half of those wandering the halls are drunk anyway? I'd like to see how they deal with the interesting ways people find to damage that stuff later.

Our third favorite part of the night was the fact that Sarah Michelle Geller was sitting behind us with her hubby Freddie Prinze Jr. and her gay boyfriend. her gay boyfriend was having a great time, while Buffy just watched and bitched about everything around her, and Freddie stood with his hand on his chin, observing. At some point, she said about my two girlfriends: "Why don't those bitches sit down?" You see, we were all dancing. Like ALL of us. The entire bottom level of the Nokia Theatre, as far as I could see. Poor Buffy.

The show? I loved it. It was my first time seeing Bjork, and what a way to do it! Some friends who had seen her before said they'd seen better shows, but I had a wonderful time. I went nuts when she did "Army of Me," cried at "Hyperballad," loved "Joga," "Pagan Poetry," and "Innocence," and flipped out during the "Declare Independence" closing riot complete with Bjork confetti.

So maybe Buffy didn't have a great time, but the rest of us sure did.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Me & Ike...

On Tuesday, Ike Turner died at the age of 76 in his San Marcos home (not to far from my parents' place in good ole Encinitas). I couldn't help but feel a little twinge of sadness, because ole Ike provided me with one of the best stories I was able to tell in recent years. In fact, after I wrote it up on my blog, my pal Scott Thill posted it in his e-zine ( and it's still something that people ask me about today.

So I'm going to reprint it here for you, so that we can all reminisce together. And I'm including the autographed picture, so you can maybe tell me what the hell he meant by what he wrote on it.

Big wheels keep on turnin'~

20 July 04
My Private Dancer

Today is my last day at my current position. I'm moving on to a better one (with a touch more money), and one with a whole new set of interesting issues. But let me tell you about some of my misadventures with this job.

Some of what I do during the day is handle phone calls from cracked out songwriters who may have had a hit for about 32 seconds, 18 years ago. And since one of my bosses -- the guy who is supposed to handle these calls -- refuses to talk to them, I get to pass on the good news that they won't be getting a check from us anytime soon.

"How the fuck am I supposed to feed my chilluns, beeyatch?" "But I'm on the street; can't ya give me a couple thousand?" Stuff like that.

Now they aren’t all crazy -- some of the nice folks I’ve chatted up are Glenn Frey, Irene Cara, Afrika Bambaata, and Kool (leader of The Gang). From time to time, however, the nutcase on the other line is also a name that I recognize.

On this particular day, it was Ike Turner.

What made this call special was that it came on my private line. That was because my boss' line was busy, and good ol' Ike told the receptionist that he had better talk to the person who could interrupt that phone call, because a call from Ike Turner was more important than a call from anyone else. Damn straight!

And that person was me. So as I'm telling Ike that my boss is on a conference call, he interrupts to say, "Baby, you have a beautiful voice. Is that why they put you on this phone?" "Yep, you know it." "Well, maybe I'll just come on down to the offices there and see your boss myself." I told Mr. Turner that I'd have my boss call him to set up an appointment as soon as I could.

Cut to 28 minutes later.

I received a call from our receptionist that Mr. Ike Turner was downstairs. I passed on the info that my boss was in a meeting and couldn't be interrupted, but it turned out that Ike wanted ME to come downstairs to help him out. As I came out of the elevator, I was greeted with, "Well, there's my lovely voice! And a lovely lady too..." (Sigh.) I told him my boss was in a meeting, and he said that he just wanted two things: to find out if "some woman" was stealing his money, and to meet that voice on the other end of the line.

I was leaning against a counter, and pretty soon he was leaning up against the other side of me. And that man was all bling, let me tell you. He was wearing loads of gold chains, a gold bracelet the width of my hand, and a freakin' Super Bowl-sized ring encrusted with diamonds which I just kept imagining hitting the side of Tina's head. So he asked me if I would find out what address we had on record for him, "just in case that bitch, Beatrice, is trying to run off with my money." I said sure.

While he was rubbing my arm, I asked him if the number he'd left me earlier was a good one to call, and he said, "Oh no, baby, I'm gonna give you my real phone number. Junior!" He snapped his fingers and the guy I thought was his assistant, but turned out to be Ike Jr., ran over with a couple promo shots. "Which one of these do you want?"

I took the concert shot instead of the still shot of him posing with a guitar. "I should have known you'd like the action shot, honey," he said with a wink. He wrote down two phone numbers. "Now this one is my home number in San Diego. And this one is my cell. That way you can reach me, anytime. Now what's your name, baby?" I told him, and he signed the picture:

"To Mo, I Love Mo're (that you!), Love, Ike Turner"

I'm not sure what that means, exactly. But if you want to call Ike for any production needs or advice on the ladies, I've got his number.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reeling In the Year

Little Radio will be closing up shop for the holidays, but not completely! There will still be music, just not us DJs. Last night was my last gig for 2007 - and I will most certainly be back in 2008 to let you know what my favorite stuff over the course of the last year was... Hell, I'll post it here before that anyway. Good times, good times, and I'm thankful to all y'all that listen.

So here goes:

Little Radio Playlist

This Is Your Last Chance to Be Famous, My Love - The Mint Chicks
I Know There's Something Going On - Frida
Miss Lucifer - Primal Scream
White Horse - Laid Back
Housequake - Prince
World Town - M.I.A.
Too Nice To Talk To - The English Beat
The Living Kind - The Ups & Downs
Web in front - Archers of Loaf
Planet of Sound - Pixies
Kiasu - Celia Mancini
Vegas Collie - Flying Lotus
Feelin' Alright - West Coast Revival
Crumbs Off The Table - Laura Lee
I Wish I Were An Apple - Derrick Morgan
Beautiful & Dangerous - Desmond Dekker
The Devil Never Sleeps - Iron & Wine
I Wanna Be With You - The Raspberries
Shonen Knife - Redd Kross
7 Heures Du Matin - Jacqueline Taeb
Party Line - The Kinks
Take It As It Comes - The Sugarman Three & Co.
Groove Me - King Floyd
Let A Man Do What He Wanna Do - Lee Fields
Jesus Is Just Alright - Doobie Brothers
Saturdays - Cut Copy
Fool's Gold - The Stone Roses
California Stars - Billy Bragg & Wilco
I Don't Want to Know - Fleetwood Mac
Electric lash - The Church
Thuggery - You Am I

Download shows here, and let's hope that the powers-that-be get around to posting the last ones so you have something new to check out over the holidays!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Nights Are Long

It's December, and people are starting to get all into their "best of" lists... I can't pretend to tell you what the best is, just what my favorites have been. And I'm thinking about it.

I can, however, tell you with absolute certainty what my favorite song from the last year has been. "Nights Are Long" by Intramural.
Intramural is a concept of sorts, created by Denver Dalley (of Desaparecidos and Statistics). He came up with the music, and had other folks come up with the lyrics/vocals. Guest vocalists include Greg Dulli of the Twilight Singers and John Roderick from The Long Winters, but my favorite song is by a guy from a great indie band out of Seattle called the Slender Means, Josh Dawson. The song is called "Nights Are Long."

The first time I heard it was over a year ago. A friend of mine was contributing to the album, and played me that track. It immediately sank deep into my mind, so deep that when I heard it again a few months later, I still remembered some of the words. "Here's the part where I drink all the time... Here's the part where I tell you I'm fine..." And his voice - well, it's beyond swoonworthy. When I commented on it to my friend, he responded, "Man, I wish I could sing like that!"

Anyway, I don't know how to do the mp3-on-a-blog thing, so you're just going to have to track down the song yourself. Or get the record. It's worth it.

And now, on to the playlist:

Little Radio Playlist

Hook and Sling Meet the Funky Superfly - Sharon Jones
What About You - Co-Real Artists
But I Was Cool - Oscar Brown Jr.
I Can't Make It - The Small Faces
A Change - Aretha Franklin
Can I Change My Mind - Tyrone Davis
Get Up Get Out - The Rosebuds
Dark Benches - Belles Will Ring
Bone Marrow - Mellowdrone
Nights Are Long - Intramural
Black Dirt - Sea Wolf
Put Yourself In My Place - Jan Panter
Look For Another Love - Lonnie's Legends & the Currents
Your Ex Is Turning tricks Again - The Holograms
It Ain't What You Do It's The way That You Do It - Fun Boy Three and Bananarama
On The Bank -The Coolies
Pull Up To The Bumper - Grace Jones
D'Yer Maker - Led Zeppelin
Metrorail Thru Space - Cut Chemist
Parisian Nights - Malibu
They Follow You - Siouxsie
Sympathetic Noose - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
What This Town Needs - Blanche
Kosciusko - Midnight Oil
The Disciples Know - The Moodists
Cuerpos Haran Amor Extrano - The Gris Gris
Sea of Love - Cat Power
If I Should Die Tonight - Marvin Gaye
One Step At A Time - Maxine Brown
It's All Wrong But It's Alright - Percy Sledge
Everybody Is A Star - Sly and the Family Stone
Do It Right - The Three Tops w/ Phyllis Dillon
Express Yourself - Byron Lee & the Dragonaires
Jealous Guy - Donny Hathaway

Click here to download past shows...

The Mo Show
6-8pm PST (9pm EST, 3am Tuesday in Berlin and 1pm Tuesday in Sydney)

Thank you!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Beasties, Superstars and Moi

Okay, Little Radio is really going into overdrive in order to give its listeners (you, perhaps?) a good time before the '07 runs out. So check it:


Beastie Boys Radio is starting up again, Tuesdays from 1-3pm. You can download some old shows and catch the new ones by checking out the Little Radio website. Here's the official announcement.

And then, Scott Ford wants make your band the next big thing...

Continuing his pretty awesome series of Unsigned Bands shows, he ups the ante by bringing in not only A&R guys and top notch producers, but celebrity guest judge Greg Dulli (the funniest man alive) and prizes of free studio time at a couple seriously major places here in Hollywood. For more info, check out Scott's blog and tune in Thursdays from 1-4pm PST. Entries must be received by Friday the 7th, so get on it!!!

And then there's little ole me... Doing the regular kick-ass rock'n'soul for your entertainment. So tune in!

The Mo Show
6-8pm PST (9pm EST, 3am Tuesday in Berlin and 1pm Tuesday in Sydney)

Thanks much, my friends!