Thursday, January 14, 2016

This just in, first edition 2-0-1-6

::::: Folks, what you've got here is the 2017 Ford GT. This is the car that is now featured in my exotic-car daydreams, replacing various Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche models. They plan on producing annually 250 of these 600+ horsepower monsters, and the list price is expected to hover around $400,000. With all of this current Powerball hysteria going on (at press time, the $1.6 billion jackpot has been won), this is just the sort of recklessly vulgar purchase that financial planners warn instant millionaires against making.

::::: On David Bowie: I'm not one to ruminate nor mourn excessively the death of a rock star, but this one hit me. Not since the passing of Joe Strummer (that announcement, over my car radio, had me pulling over and sitting still for a few minutes) have I felt so sad about losing one of them. I admittedly own very little of the Thin White Duke's catalog, but he was nonetheless extremely influential in my musical world. His endless changeable personae and sonic adventures spanned many decades, his songs never sounded 'stale' or tired in that 'classic rock' sort of way. They are, and will remain, forever timeless. One of my clients told me that his dad thinks Bowie "was definitely born in the future". .... Bowie's last monument, "Blackstar" happens also to be excellent, so here's a taste of it for you; RIP David Robert Jones.

::::: And, finally... Let us start and end the discussion about New Year's resolutions, once and for all. I'm not sure if this was covered or not yet, but I think the reason why we have such a difficult time keeping them has a distinctly seasonal element. Some of the most common soon-to-be-broken promises are to "exercise more", "lose weight" or to "enjoy life to the fullest". I couldn't think of a worse time to attempt achieving these objectives than January, February, and, for that matter, March. Exercising becomes a real chore when you need to pile on three layers of gear to take a jog around the neighborhood. Losing weight is equally challenging, as we all naturally calorie-up more often in the colder months, in an effort to maintain warmth and conserve energy... not to mention we spend a lot more time indoors, which means we are lot nearer to the refrigerator, and more often. As far as that last one, well, it's kinda hard to enjoy life to the fullest when it's 16 degrees, the sun seems to all but disappear for days on end, and... you're trying to lose weight! Happy New Year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Keepin' me ears on

Here's a little taste of what we've been spinning here at TSHQ. Admittedly, I've come late to the party for a couple of these artists...

Lord knows how I missed Kamasi Washington's "The Epic", and his sweeping, sprawling, majestic brand of modern jazz, but now he's in heavy rotation.

Quiet Hollers were featured on a music blog I discovered late last year, "The Beat Surrender", so snaps to them for that find. But as far as you people are concerned, it was I who found them. Their smart, 'stream of consciousness' brand of  songwriting and easy, jangly arrangements remind me of last year's indie sensation, Courtney Barnett.

My current musical obsession, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, have thirteen studio albums to their credit but it only took one spin of "Mary, Please" for me to get hooked, finally. Warning: their brand of psychedelic rock is truly addictive and might have you in rehab before the first snowflakes start to fall; listen at your own risk.

KAMASI WASHINGTON: "Change of the Guard", from The Epic (2015, Brainfeeder Records)

QUIET HOLLERS: "Cote d'Azur", from Quiet Hollers (2015, self-released)

THE BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE: "Mary, Please" from Take it from the Man (1996, Bomp! Records)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Top of the Pops Honorable Mention 2015

In yet another startling departure from previous years, TOTP-2015 edition features a short list of "Honorable Mentions", records that are really, really good but not quite good enough to make the Top Ten. I'm not a believer in giving out "Participation Medals" to the kids who came in 4th through 17th, but sometimes you gotta invite some other achievers to the podium, so herewith, my list of also-rans:

How's this for a concept: Ryan Adams, one of alt-country's most well-regarded and prolific artists, decides to record a complete covers album of Taylor Swift's top-40 blockbuster "1989". He claimed that he wanted to make it sound as if The Smiths made the record, specifically like their classic "Meat is Murder". That was enough for me to buy into it, and although I'm not so sure I can make that connection, the record is a success. His fifteenth album in as many years (told you he was prolific!), "1989" has enough ringing guitars and punchy arrangements to at least recall the lads from Salford, especially evident in his treatment of "Bad Blood", which also gets the TS vote for song of the year.

Do I seem like the kinda fella who's going to settle in at the end of a long day, open a cold one and settle in with an Adele record? Well, I'm not. But I am the kinda fella who every so often appreciates the big voice with the big album delivered in a big way, especially when your voice is as goddamned good as Adele's. This girl has a set of pipes bigger than a Hammond church organ's, plus she was born in Tottenham and for those reasons alone, she gets the nod.

CITY AND COLOUR: If I should go Before You
Dallas Green aka City and Colour deserves a wider audience, getting overlooked by the presence of similar artists who don't do what he does quite as well, that is, earnest indie folk-rock delivered with a soupcon of soul & blues.

THE ARCS: Yours Dreamily
Dan Auerbach, one half of the great Black Keys, is at it again, collaborating and inviting various and sundry folks to make music with him. His side project, The Arcs, provide plenty to like (and even some to love) for fans of that now very well established and regarded blues-rock duo. New ground? Not much, except for an odd arrangement here and there, but why fix what ain't broke?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Top of the Pops 2015 Edition

For the 2015 installment of Tiger Scat's annual "Top of the Pops", the editors have decided to snazzy things up a bit. The list of the year's best releases appears in descending order and is accompanied by YouTube clips of a representative cut from each selection. This adds to TotP that 'countdown' element in this age of pitch counts, t.v. clock graphics showing 'days until the next presidential debate' and that disturbing ticker on 44th Street displaying the national debt. In the past, we didn't want to divide your attention by including cuts from the albums, but we've come to the conclusion that the average attention span has become permanently divided anyway, so why not? Plus it's fun... its a lot of fun. Here goes, 'Scatters, the list of our choices, and as always, comments are welcomed:

After a string of disappointments, the Modfather is back, and (almost) in top form. Collected within are some of Weller's best songs in years, the kind that will have you wanting more (like the splendid title cut, which features some uneven stops-and-starts and is also woefully, frustratingly short in length) whilst still others recall the classic PW we all knew and loved from his earliest post-The Jam days ("Going my Way"). There might be a few too many outer-spacey sound effects for some ears, but after all, there is a planetary theme at work here, folks. Here is "Saturns Pattern", with the opening stanza "Got up in a mind to get up, fixed on the day; Shook any fears I had, washed them away." That kind of optimism, you will soon discover, contrasts perfectly with the dystopian tour-de-force that occupies the top spot on this year's list.

I'm not sure, but I think that at least 13 out of the 14 cuts on this gem of a country record are either about drinking, mention drinking or make a vague reference to drinking. Hey listen, fella, gittin' good-n-drunk is a standard theme of the genre but that's about the only criticism I can come up with about "Traveller". We don't listen to a whole helluva lotta country at TSHQ, but this here record is a bonafide keeper. Stapleton is a newcomer on the scene but he certainly doesn't sound, look or act that way. This cat has a smooth and steady delivery on all of these songs (his treatment of the George Jones classic "Tennessee Whiskey" is especially well-wrought) and he will henceforth become a household name due to his receiving the hardware for new artist of the year and album of the year and for his masterful duet performance of "Drink you Away" (what else?) with Justin Timberlake at this year's CMA Awards ceremony. That video has been unceremoniously removed from YouTube, so here's a peek at the original trailer:

Indie music's favorite bookworms are back with another winning effort, following up the triumphant "The King is Dead". Literate references, as expected, abound: who else can pull off lyrics like "prevaricate", "fey" and "sibylline"? And those are all from only one song. Also on offer are some real blues ("Carolina Low"), surf guitar ("Easy Come Easy Go") and some good old-fashioned stomp-folk-rock ("Anti-Summersong"), even though stomp-folk-rock has seem to run its course. There aren't too many terrible moments here, but there's a ton of beautiful ones, like the achingly lovely "Lake Song".

HAMBURG '72 (ECM Reissue edition)
For those of you not familiar with Keith Jarrett, the man is unquestionably genius. He possesses something that is known as "absolute pitch" which means he can bang out a perfect note without needing any reference. This is quite rare, as is his music. You can't find an easy exit once you've entered, even when things get a little crazy, tonal, 'avant-garde' or just plain weird. Backed with the equally criminally-talented Haden and Motian, this broadly-painted, inspirational work has some well-deserved new life breathed into it by the master re-masterers at ECM. Here is the sprawling and inventive "Take Me Back".

This might be a curious choice to some of you, after all your 'Scatter in Chief is 55 years old, listens to a lot of jazz, blues and Bach, what the fuck is he doing with a Bassnectar record in his hands? (My nephew recently asked from the back seat as we were on a long road trip, "You're into Bassnectar? Whaaaat?"). Yes, I am, and here's why: when asked, "What kind of music do you like?" my answer is "The good kind". And this is the good kind. Bassnectar (real name Lorin Ashton) is often credited for putting some real 'musical soul' into EDM and this collection bears that out in a big way. Beautiful, soaring arrangements and dubs, great pacing, and you can dance to it! What more do you want?

The ultimate post-punk girl group returns after a long break (to make babies, star in hipster-sendup t.v. shows, etc etc) with the first great album of the year, released in mid-late January. A blitz of a record, clocking in at less than 33 minutes, "No Cities" deals with issues like the working mom holding down jobs to keep food on the table, losing friends to tragic events and the loss of punk-rock influence (auto-biographical, perhaps?). Every cut has a grit and power that is, somehow, unique to this Seattle trio which has lost none of it's bite. It might take another ten years for Sleater-Kinney to make a new record, but if its anything like "No Cities to Love", it will be worth the wait. 

If you're anything like me, you believed bands like The Smiths, The Clash and New Order could do no wrong in their respective heydays. So maybe I should offer full disclosure that my opinion is influenced by the near-worship status I've attached to them. If you ever cried while dancing (yes, dancing) to Joy Division's "Love will Tear us Apart" and then again, a few years on, to "Bizarre Love Triangle", you know what I'm talking about. Tears didn't flow when I first played "Music Complete", but then again, not much new music makes me cry these days. I'm content to settle in with a collection of songs from one of the progenitors of dance-synth-rock, flawlessly produced and performed (with, albeit, a few weak spots) and using this as my entertainment for the evening. Guest appearances from Iggy Pop and Brandon Flowers help flesh things out here, and we've also got the return of Gillian Gilbert even as Peter Hook has hit the road. If you've forgotten about New Order for the last few years, "Music Complete" is your chance to get reacquainted. Here's "People on the High Line", featuring guest vocals from Elly Jackson from the former La Roux:

Iceland has become within the last decade a veritable waterfall for fresh new music, heavy in imagery and layered sonic dreamscapes. OMAM have emerged as one of the most visible of these acts and have earned their spot in this unique 'pantheon'. After the pioneering Bjork and her Sugarcubes, Sigur Ros introduced the wider world to the wonders of this strange and beautiful land where the environment is firmly connected to popular culture, most of all the music, but the grandiose width and reach of that band's work, along with the impossible Icelandic/Dream-landic language they sing in, can become way too cumbersome and unyielding. "Beneath the Skin", on the other hand, engages you while still plumbing the depths of nature/man/animal/earth with all the weird sights, sounds and stimuli to be discovered therein. They conjure stuff like "wolves without teeth" and dream-vision dragonflies, knitting it into some gorgeous, soaring melodies and acoustic-heavy arrangements. If you're looking to get lost into this bizarre adventure, this is your chance, and the 'Scat thinks "Beneath the Skin" will stick around, unlike the melting glaciers, for a very long time.  The song "Empire" has apparently spawned a surfeit of Vevo videos with fans lip-synching the lyrics. Here's one of those for you:

It has been way too long since I've had this much fun with an album from a new band. "Sometimes I sit and think..." put a big smile on my face from first listen that has barely budged since. The young Australian burst onto the indie scene and was it's first darling (as I earlier predicted) of the year. I caught their live, in-studio performance on KEXP-Seattle and it looked like they were hardly trying but that's part of the appeal; the deadpan singing and the dreamy Jazzmaster guitar playing just comes naturally. Other than the bluesy "Small Poppies", my favorite cut on the record is "Depreston", a song that all of you real estate agents (yes, real estate agents) should be interested in. Here it is, in all its sarcastic glory:

This might seem an odd choice for the first position, or any position for that matter, on a Tiger Scat 'Top of the Pops' list, but I've often been told that I'm full of surprises. Sometimes a guy just needs to vent, and "Pylon" provides plenty of ductwork for it. One need look no further than the song titles to get the message here: "New Cold War", "Autonomous Zone", "Panopticon" and "War on Freedom" pretty much set the stage. But damned if I can't stop listening to this album once I've started. In a year that is giving us everything from yet another 9/11-type of terrorist attack to an absolute joke (a killing one, maybe?) of a US presidential campaign scene, "Pylon" is the perfect soundtrack. This record, in two discs worth, has succeeded in hitting the nerve on nearly every frustration felt in this fucked-up world we've got on our hands and delivers a punishing, gut-punching, post punk grip that never loosens. The band have restricted uploading in the US of most of the tracks on YouTube, and they are gradually publishing lyrics to all of the songs via their official Facebook page, but your 'Scatter-in-chief has located this hidden lyric video of "I am the Virus", just for you.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Think globally, act globally

Your 'Scatter-in-Chief' has been recently suffering what could only be referred to as 'writer's block'. A general lack of inspiration has contributed to this, along with the fact that I'm beginning to think that everything that needs to be said has already been said, or, more accurately, what I often think needs to be said can be better said by somebody else.

With that second concept in mind, I present what I believe is only the second guest-blogger post here on Tiger Scat. The writer shall remain anonymous because he's the sort of guy that likes to exist under the radar and he makes quite the effort to do so. But he's one guy that, since I've known him, has never suffered from writer's block. He is a tireless watchdog on world events, the press, politics, economics, you name it, this fella has a thought (or ten) about it. In addition to being a world-class thinker, his writing skills are pretty damn good as well, I think you will agree upon reading this piece, which he entitled "Celebrity Apprentice III" (don't ask, its a long story).

As with most of his writing, this article is provocative, intelligent and will most likely piss off a lot of folks, especially those who don't think that much. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.


“(T)hat the two parties should represent opposed ideas and policies, one of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea…the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy”.   (Professor Caroll Quigley, 1966)

Many of what are considered to be Liberal policy objectives on the one hand, or Conservative ones on the other, are actually Globalist policy objectives identifying as one or the other.

That policy undeterred by the throwing in or out of red or blue rascals is essentially Globalist policy.

The Globalists work with both parties and through both parties, in fact own both parties, but depending on the rhetorical requirements of the specific goal at hand will favor one or the other.

For instance, if they ever wanted to make abortion illegal – they do not by any means, but if they did – they’d work through a Conservative-oriented legislative body.

The Liberals could never be seen openly denying a woman her right to choose.

(The possibility of a balanced view on this issue is seldom vetted. Most Americans, one would think, do not want to see abortion elevated to the status of a ritual or turned into some macabre organ-harvesting industry but at the same time would never presume to make it illegal).

If the Globalists ever wanted to restrict or eliminate the right to own firearms – and they very much do, with the U.S. clearly headed toward ceding its authority in this matter to International bodies, albeit ‘under the radar,’ as the President has said, or by way of Executive Order – they’d work through the Liberals.

Conservatives could never be seen openly denying their trigger-happy base its right to bear arms.

(As it happens many Liberals own and support the right to own firearms).

Herein lies the strength of the Left/Right paradigm:

If a particular policy were openly identified as a Globalist policy, and proved unpopular or disastrous, the Globalists alone would take the blame.

If however that very same policy is proffered under the guise of a Conservative agenda on the one hand or Liberal one on the other, it can be easily dismissed as an ‘unfortunate mistake’ and blamed on the other side, even though it’s just what the Globalists ordered.

The Iraq war provides a good illustration of this phenomenon at work.

The Left attributes the unending mess to Bush’s bumbling, and to this day, even though Bush left office nearly seven years ago.

The Right blames said mess on the Left for ‘pulling out too early,’ even though 1) the mess is more the result of the invasion than the withdrawal 2) the withdrawal was fairly consistent with Republican timelines and 3) no one ever really withdrew.

Though the war ‘ended,’ possibly for the second time, in 2011, U.S. forces resumed air operations in Iraq in June of last year. By November of last year, Obama said that the air strikes, while effective, were insufficient, and that ‘now what we need is ground troops’. In June of this year ground troops were sent.

The wars in Iraq and elsewhere including new ones launched under the current administration are ultimately attributable to neither the Left nor the Right but to the decidedly non-partisan Military Industrial Complex operating under the aegis of the ‘supranational elites’.

The dissolving of borders between the United States and Mexico, the facilitating of immigration and granting of amnesty, these are typically identified as Liberal imperatives, but which again are more aligned with a Globalist than partisan mindset. 

The Globalists welcome waves of ‘illegals,’ a term on the verge of being banned in favor of the more politically correct but less technically accurate ‘undocumented immigrants’.

They want the labor force, ‘to do the jobs Americans won’t do’ such as ‘picking fruit’ and ‘mowing lawns’ – the voting bloc, to ensure continuing support of the government which so graciously granted them their freedom, and, in a larger context – a North American Union to be combined with a European Union and Asian Union to form a trilateral world.

Other than for these and other reasons (including the procurement of a global multicultural society, which in reality is more akin to a uni-cultural and eventually non-cultural one) the Globalists don’t care one whit about the welfare of immigrants.

And while it makes perfect sense to Americans across the political spectrum – including those who entered the country legally – to protect the border – with ISIS exploiting easy crossing into Texas, according to official sources – opposition to wide open borders is reflexively characterized as xenophobic, racist, or worst of all, Republican.

(This is one way in which Trump, perhaps unwittingly, is doing the Globalists a good turn: not in giving open border policy a bad name, but in giving opposition to open border policy a bad name, making sealing the border seem a racist endeavor. That said his proposal to build a literal wall between the U.S. and Mexico borders on the farcical).

The argument in favor of removing any and all filters, meanwhile, that, ‘Unless you’re Native American you came from someplace else,’ while a legitimate point, is disingenuously applied.

For one thing, actually, even the Native Americans came from someplace else.

For another, in regard to both Mexico and now war-torn regions overseas, there’s a critical distinction between conducting immigration processes in a secure and organized fashion and simply throwing open the floodgates to any and all comers in an age of widespread animosity toward the U.S.

The Globalists are fully aware of this distinction. They’re just using immigration policy and immigrants themselves – moving them round like pawns on a chessboard – in the service of their aforementioned goals which, upon even cursory examination, are anything but Liberal or even non-racist for that matter, in nature.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This just in...

---> I sometimes wonder if people go to the newest hip & trendy restaurants not for the food, but for the abuse. I've recently read a review of such an establishment that has opened in Long Island City. On a Saturday evening, after waiting outside on a line to get in the joint, and if you are fortunate enough to get on the wait list, you are required to don a pair of disposable gloves, choose your own fish from the ice-chest, carry it over to the counter, have it weighed, and pay for it. It then gets added to the "cooking queue". As you are forced to hover over diners who sit stuffed into the thimble-sized dining area, you could be waiting for up to an hour. The Greek owner is also your hostess and the only waitress. She was quoted by the reviewer as saying at one point during a very busy evening, "Oh my God, I'm getting dizzy!" To add to the festivities, some asshole in the crowd decides to switch the lights on and off while yelling, "Opa!", just for effect I suppose. It all seems so very New York faux-cool.

The article also quotes a young man who has been waiting (and hovering) for an eternity, an experience that he compares to jury duty. You are pushed, jostled, forced to wait for your food, but they give you complimentary garlic bread (which was described as 'run of the mill'). And if they seem to have misplaced your order? The response is a casual "Oh, well, the kitchen forgot. It's okay." All this for the privilege of eating at a BYOB shithole for a plate of broiled cod that I have to shell out $22 for? I would rather spend my Saturday night at jury duty.

---> Why does the word "emergency" always precede the word "appendectomy"? Aren't they all emergencies? I mean, how many people have had an appendix removed either voluntarily or via a scheduled surgical procedure?

---> Here's an update on a subject that was a 'hot topic' here on the 'Scat a few years back, the US Postal Service. I had a pleasant conversation with a letter carrier a few weeks back who told me that the recent agreement between FedEx, UPS and Amazon was a boon for the agency, which had been reporting huge billion-dollar losses. They have turned the corner, according to this fella, and their pension fund has never been more robust. A new delivery truck is being designed specifically to handle the extra volume and the previously dark and gloomy mood of the whole mess has become bright and sunny. You see? If the post office can make it happen, anyone can.

---> And finally, an update on another big story, the wreck and sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. It is in Genoa, Italy, getting scrapped in a recovery shipyard. Some smaller bits are being sold to the public as 'souvenirs', but there's been a much more interesting discovery: apparently, in one of the holds of the ship, a 'big cargo' of cocaine has been found. The vessel is under 24-hour surveillance and a new investigation will be undertaken to get to the bottom (tee hee) of this latest development.

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Where else are you going to get news like this, folks, but here on Tiger Scat? If you really like what you read here, and would like to make a donation to help keep the operation afloat (tee hee again), shoot me an email at, and I'll gladly accept your money. Opa!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Boycott Update

I know my 'Scat faithful are eagerly awaiting a status update on the various boycotts that I have in place, so here goes with the latest:

The local diner (name still withheld because I like the waitresses who work there): The full boycott is still active. First off, we have moved the studio out of the neighborhood, so there's one convenience that is no longer at my disposal. Secondly, we don't eat out that often and if we do, it sure as hell is not going to be at a shitty diner. Thirdly, the owner, although a naturalized Greek, is a big Chelsea fan and for that alone, he sucks. ... I miss exactly two things about it: the eggplant parmigiana, which was better than any version served up by the Italian-American restaurants in the area. And the aforementioned waitresses, some of the hardest working, genuinely friendly servers anywhere. But those two items are not compelling enough for me to lift the boycott.

The shoe repair place: I broke down and dropped off a pair of expensive shoes that needed a serious glue job for the rubber soles, purely out of convenience. To my surprise, the miserable Chinese guy who runs the place now has a woman (his wife? his daughter? his half-sister? who knows?) running the counter and she's a lot more pleasant to deal with. Maybe she steps outside every so often to take a break from inhaling the toxic chemical fumes, maybe she's not affected by them or maybe she's just plain nice. No matter, I asked her to put a rush on the job, and she did so, at no extra cost, and with a smile. Boycott ended.

The NHL: My heretofore beloved New York Rangers are current holders of the Presidents Trophy, given to the team that ends the regular season with the best record. They have put to shame their arena mates, the hapless, embarrassing and altogether disgraceful New York Knickerbockers, yet I still have not been following them. Oh sure, I catch up with the latest in the papers and on line, but without cable (more on that next) and with a seriously decreasing interest in all sports, the Rangers are but a footnote in my life. I wish them luck in the playoffs, but here's how I see it: if they lose, oh well, too bad, if they win, good for them. Boycott over, but interest at an all-time low, so fare thee well, hockey, hope we meet again some day on some frozen backyard pond in the sky.

Cable TV: I really can't categorize this as a 'boycott' any more. I'm not a cable t.v. subscriber any longer just because I'm mad at them; I just don't need it. I have a Roku streamer and I'm "borrowing" the log-in information for Netflix from my nephew. Netflix is the best fucking thing to happen to my t.v. screen, ever. So, let's put this down as boycott over, permanent cancellation in place.

NPR: I have in recent weeks been tuning in every so often to the increasingly mainstream NPR, so I suppose you could say that my boycott has ended. Here's the thing: there is so little quality news broadcasting on the radio that I am almost forced to tune them in to get the headlines, etc, and the occasional special interest feature. I also visit the website more often for the same reason. They distill their stories down to the bare minimum, to avoid listener fatigue. They are funded by some dubious benefactors. Their on air personalities have some of the most annoying voices (and names) on the dial, but in the end run, they are the only game in town. Boycott over.