Favorite Video of the Week: About

About-Think Miles Drink

Not sure if the band About is still around but they made some pretty awesome music while they were in existence. The glitchy mash-up of styles works in this song. There’s a pop-ey cleverness to their music – it sounds fun, lively and inspired.
By the way, I’ve had three of the jobs featured in this video: record store clerk, barista and book seller.

After writing to the band to see if they were still around, I got this response:

Thank you!
No, we’re not playing at the moment… spending 24/7 in the studio in Berlin to finish the new record. Shows will start again in January!
All the best!
Rutger – About

Yay! Looking forward to seeing them play live one day.

The Lucky Banana Pup


My Grandfather Atanasio, like many other Mexican men was a drinker, a gardener and a tinkerer. Often he would combine all three activities into one afternoon. His inspiration resulted in a backyard of mosaics and fountains (a whole post on this coming soon). Although he passed away in the late 70s many of the plants he grew live on today at the old family homestead, including a great big walnut tree – a favorite of the neighborhood squirrels.

In this photo, he is standing next to what looks like a freshly planted banana tree. Generations of this banana tree live on today, each succession of pups churning out hanging bunches of fruit. This small grove of bananas was divided and spread around the garden, at times the trees were on the verge of taking over swaths of the backyard. The trees are easy to maintain but they do need to be kept in check.

About ten years ago I decided to take a pup (a baby banana plant, they reproduce by sending up shoots from underground rhizomes) home and planted it in a pot. I thought I would carry on the banana growing tradition at my home. I never had a proper place to plant it until I moved to my new place a few years ago. The tree grew tall and flourished, sending up 4 or 5 new pups in one year. I looked forward to harvesting my first bunch of bananas, until one morning when my landlord knocked on the door with a request. She asked if I would remove the banana tree. I told her not to worry the roots were very shallow and would not damage the foundation. She then said Chinese people do not like banana trees and it is bad luck to have the trees growing on her property. As to not offend her and my Chinese neighbors and because it was more a demand than a request, I removed the large banana tree and replanted the pups in pots.

I now have a couple of pups in pots I do not need and would like to keep this banana family going. I’m sure my grandfather received his pup from a friend and so I will continue this tradition. If you would like a banana tree for your garden, leave me a note in the comments area.

Why are bananas never lonely?
Because they hang around in bunches.

Is Anything New?

Digitalism-Anything New

I had a rather obvious epiphany the other night: if you enjoy dancing, you probably enjoy dance music. Obvious, right? Whether dance music is derivative, full of samples of other songs or comprised of beats I’ve heard over and over again, I will probably listen to it. This understanding helps me comprehend why some people don’t like dance music. They probably don’t dance and if they do dance, they don’t dance with their hips (because you need a good rhythm to dance with your hips). Yeah, my logic is simple but it helps me understand why lots of dance music, especially of the electronic variety is so often derided.

Another obvious realization I had the other day while at the Balkan/World/Gypsy music club Malabomba: the best dance music DJs are the ones that feel just as comfortable on the dance floor as they do behind the turntables. The DJ there played some really nice global tunes but not songs you’d necessarily want to dance to.

Digitalism-Digitalism in Cairo

Digitalism is a band that explores the various issues around sampling, borrowing and re-using songs and beats through their music. You might make out a nod to Thriller in Anything New and the obvious sample of The Cure’s Fire in Cairo, above.

Felix Da Housecat-Madame Hollywood

Felix Da Housecat is another DJ who will lift whole rhythm tracks from obscure dance songs for his tunes. It’s always small thrill when I’m able to recognize the origin of a Felix Da Housecat sample. The foundation may be old or unoriginal but it’s the combination of elements that make music sound fresh. The best innovators always make a tip of the hat to what came before them.

Favorite Song(s) of the Day: Early 2000s

Prefuse 73 – Wife (Pieces Of Detroit Mix)

My favorite songs of 2002. Damn, how I loved Prefuse 73, Dabrye and Four Tet, they were my turn-of-the-century go to music. I’m still crazy about these kind of beats. Take a hip-hop song, remove the rap and I’m in love.

Dabrye – The Lish

Four Tet-Untangle

Two Banks of Four-Street lullaby (Four Tet Remix)