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Diamonds in the Rough: the We Ball Harder Guide to Adams Morgan

Adams Where? The Weekly 18th Street shitshow? What does WBH have to do with that? Well, your author lived for two years on Calvert Street, just past the insufferable weekend crush of shwasty-faced hoodrats, gang-bangers, interns, fake IDers, and drunk-ass bros, and despite having a sweet apartment, was not thrilled with said swarm of ragers providing a ruinous end for an otherwise nice night out in a different part of DC.  So why the hell am I writing this? Because nearly three years later, new delights have opened, old stalwarts have remained, and I’ve discovered under-the-radar gems that I overlooked in my previous desire to avoid 18th & Columbia and environs at all costs.

DISCLAIMER: 18th Street is still chock-a-block with absolute SHIT bars – and I’m gonna name them: Grand Central, Tom Tom, Town Tavern, Columbia Junction or whatever it’s called, Shenanigans, and many others. Avoid. It also still home to most dubious pizza by the slice ever – Jumbo Slice and its derivatives.  No level of drunkenness makes this a good idea. Also avoid.

So with that out of the way, let’s get on with it, starting from the top of the hill to the bottom.

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Song of the Day – “Re-Make/Re-Model” by Roxy Music

Remember the first music post on We Ball Harder? About T Rex and the birth of glam rock? We come back full circle to some of Marc Bolan’s contemporaries: Roxy Music, one of the pioneers of glam rock, if not the very first – with an artier, more eccentric edge, at least while synthesizer bad boy/future production genius Brian Eno was with them, looking like a feathered, glammed up Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “Remake/Remodel” is the first song from their first album, and hands down my favorite. It has everything: a driving beat from drummer Paul Thompson and bassist Graham Simpson, scorching guitar from Phil Manzanera, off the wall sax playing by Andy Mackay, Brian Eno’s bizarre synthesized squelches (all of which get solo time), and of course frontman Bryan Ferry’s signature wail and killer opening piano chords. Recorded in 1972, this song is a mashup before mashups existed, and it fuckin’ rocks!

Studio version first, then live version (which is great cos you can see everyone freaking out onstage)


Song of the Day – “California Dreaming”

Come on spring, yalla already!

“All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey /
I’ve been for a walk on a winters day /
I’d be safe and warm if I was in LA /
California dreaming on such a winters day.”

 


RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES – DAFT PUNK – MAY 17th

Random-Access-Memories

Click for a funky preview!

Or 21st if you live in the Unfunky States of America. Daft Punk’s fourth studio album shall be released. And we shall party. That is all.


Song of the Day – “Ada Sahillerinde”

Time to reveal one of my favorite genres to listen to when deep in writing – Türkü, Turkish folk music, which can come in several forms, but I like them for working as I can sort of ignore the lyrics (since my Turkish isn’t fluent by any means), and let the music drive me and concentrate in a way that more hypnotic and entrancing genres like Qawwali and Persian classical don’t allow. That’s not to say Türkü isn’t great on its own merits though – today’s song of the day is one of my favorites, “Ada Sahilleri,” AKA “Ada Sahillerinde Bekliyorum,” “Adalar Sahilinde,” or several variations (“The shores of the island,” “I’m waiting on the shores of the island,” and “on the shore of the islands,” respectively), referring to the Prince’s Islands, simply known as the “Islands” in the Marmara Sea just off the coast and within sight of Istanbul.  This is, then, one of the more famous Istanbul türküs, about waiting on the shores of the island, and among other things, watching over the lover’s travels, and asking to be made happy and later remembered as he passes away.

Being a folk song, there’s no definitive version, so here are a couple of the better ones. İyi çalışmalar! -work well (for the weekend is nigh!)

(first half)


Song of the Day: Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Diablo Rojo”

Paco de Lucia meets 1980s Metallica – two Mexican metalheads gypsyfy their style, with brilliant results. Total roller coaster of a song by one of the more original and captivating acts out there – check out the rest of their stuff ASAP!


NEW DAFT PUNK ALBUM ON THE WAY! (also, Song of the Day by them)

Various online leakers have announced that a Sony online registration form now lists a full album’s worth of new songs by Daft Punk for release this year! 13 songs, nearly 75 minutes, recorded 2013. That’s all the info that’s out there, but all I can say is HELL YES! The gods of French house and fathers of modern electro are back!!!

Those two punk kids from down the block, how daft.

This brings us to the song of the day, “Around the World/Harder Better Faster Stronger”, from Alive 2007 – a recording of their legendary concert at Bercy (near Paris), and one of the highlight tracks from the album. Recorded at the height of their influence (Justice, anyone?), it’s a Daft Punk only mashup, only the mashup was done live with racks of synths, midi controllers, and computers, so it’s really like instant remixing and mashing. Madeon probably wouldn’t be anywhere without this pure unadulterated electronic robot bliss: