J Ship’s A – Z (with Jonathan Shipley)

AHHH! Zzz…No, don’t fall asleep. This is a new semi-regular column where I talk about music and all its wondrousness from A to Z. Perhaps I’ll discuss Digable Planets, Duran Duran and Claude Debussy for the Ds, or Pete Zorn, U2’s Zooropa album, and ZZ Top’s beards for the Zs.  There’s a wonderful world of music out there. No better place to start than at the beginning…

 A

Ace of Base
In 2000 they released a greatest hits album. Huh?! How many “great” hits did they have? Honestly, I don’t want to hear “The Sign” thirteen different times on one album. Sorry Jenny, Linn, and Jonas Berggren.  Sorry Ulf Ekberg, Swede or no, you, Ace of Base collective, are not great. And, no, I’m not racist towards Swedes. I like many of them (Ingrid Bergman, Alfred Nobel, the one, the only Dag Hammarskjöld), and several pieces in my house are from IKEA. And meatballs. I like meatballs. And that Muppet who said, “Bork! Bork! Bork!” and threw kitchen implements around. The sound of that alone, the clatter of kitchen implements in a Swedish Muppet’s kitchen, I would rather hear than “The Sign.” Anything but “The Sign.”

Acid Jazz
I like jazz music. Billie Holliday, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, are greats that inspire. Acid jazz has nothing really to do with jazz though. But, whatever, acid jazz is kind of cool, too. I mean without acid jazz we wouldn’t have Arrested Development (I LOVE that show), and A Tribe Called Quest (if they were a tribe called Quest why didn’t the band simply name themselves Quest?). What is acid jazz then if it’s not jazz? It’s a combination of soul music, disco funk, and some dance music thrown in the musical kettle as well. And what a tasty kettle with acid jazz groups like Brand New Heavies, Thievery Corporation, and Jamiroquai whose lead singer wears neat hats.

Air Supply
The family record player was in my sister’s room. She got to listen to records while the rest of us listened to AM radio. Growing up in Olympia, Washington, you weren’t cool when you listened to freakin’ KBRD (K-Bird). They played horrible music – Englebert Humberdink, Perry Como, Air Supply. Unfortunately, my sister was also a big fan of Air Supply and so very often I heard through her thin particle board bedroom door “Even the Nights Are Better.” Believe me, you Australian-based Air Supply, i.e. Mr. Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell, the nights were not better because of you. They were worse! I had homework to do (math homework which I was never very good at to begin with) and all that I could hear all night was “Every Woman in the World” crashing out of my sister’s portable record player. “Making Love out of Nothing At All” was one of their top his. More like “Making Records Out of No Talent At All.”

Albrechtsberger, Johann Georg
Thank you, Johann Gerog Albrechtsberger, than you. First off, you were born in Klosterneuburg in Australia. Of all the Alberchtsberger’s from Klosterneuburg you are undoubtedly my favorite (close second? Jim-Bob Albrechtsberger). Born in 1736 you studied music at Melk Abbey (yes, THAT Melk Abbey), and became, over time, one of the most talented contrapuntists of your age! There were many contrapuntists at the time vying for that title, Mr. Albrechtsberger, but no contrapuntist could rival your contrapunt capabilities! You also taught Beethoven. Well done. How was he to teach, being stone deaf (and undoubtedly syphilitic)?

Album Leaf
Have you heard of Album Leaf? I haven’t heard all I want to yet. I picked up In a Safe Place, released by Sup Pop. Good stuff.

Avalanches
“Frontier Psychiatrist” – need I say more? That’s the coolest song. I’m thinking about writing a novel based off of it. I mean it has everything a great novel needs – a man with a golden eyeball, midgets, Indians, a false teeth maker. Just think of how “Pride and Prejudice” would have been if Mr. Darcy was a midge with a golden eyeball! I mean, seriously, think about it.

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