It’s official – he wanted to be a legend, and he is. Usain Bolt just won the world’s first Olympic running triple-triple (or is it double triple?), part of the mighty Team Jamaica – Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan “The Beast” Blake, and Usain “Lightning” Bolt – that won the 4x100m relay today, setting a new, smashing world record of 36.84 seconds, a mere two days after Bolt became the first ever to get a double-double by winning the 200m. But this time, he had help from the rest of Team Jamaica, overall the fastest sprinters in the world. What an irie first week of Jamaica’s 50th independent year! It’s only fitting to keep the party going, so get out your Red Stripe, Ting, curry goat, and whatever else you want and have a good time!
It’s also the 50th anniversary, more or less, of Jamaica’s explosion onto the global music arena, and the two are no coincidence. What will be presented over several installments is a rough guide to the many styles that have gone on to influence musicians, rebels, and parties everywhere in the world since then – ska and the sound systems, rock steady, toasting (arguably the roots of rap) reggae in all its forms, dub, and dancehall, to be selective. You’ll get some brief history and description, but most imporantly, tons of fantastic music.
Big up for a big week in Jamaica. August 5: Fastest Man in the World Usain “I Am Actually Lightning” Bolt destroys the Olympic record in the 100m dash, setting a new one in 9.63 seconds. August 6: 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence (much Ting, Wray & Nephew overproof rum, and jerk chicken consumed, all highly recommended). August 9: Usain Bolt, in all of 19.32 seconds, becomes the first person ever to double-double in the 100m and 200m sprint – winning them both in Beijing and London, nearing peak speeds of 30mph in the process. He would be pulled over for speeding in residential neighborhoods and much of Washington, DC. Oh, he also celebrated by doing five pushups for his five golds shortly after crossing the line. BEAST! August 11: Jamaica wins the men’s 4x100m relay, with Bolt and Blake on the team, repeating the gold from Beijing, giving Bolt an unprecedented triple-triple! On the women’s side, here’s a shout out to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who on August 4 repeated her Beijing 100m gold with another one in London. And let’s not overlook Yohan Blake, another wickedly fast Jamaican sprinter, who got silver in the men’s 100 and 200, and whose personal 200 record is second only to Bolt’s in the world, and Warren Weir, who won bronze today, giving Jamaica a clean sweep of the men’s 200m.
(more on Bolt, Jamaica, and 9 fantastic songs after the jump)
I may live mostly in DC, frustratedly adore Beirut, and enjoy travelling round the world, but only one place is my true love: The Metropolis; Her Majesty’s Capital; London. Having lived there twice and visited so often I’ve lost count of the times, London is truly where my spirit resides. When I arrive at Dulles, I groan; when I arrive at Heathrow, I think “I’m home.”
Given a little thing called the Olympics is going on there now, it’s a great time to tell you why London deserves every bit of attention it’s getting.
The band you see above, founded by political exiles in 1979 in the heart of the Sahara, started playing on homemade instruments, fought in Mu’ammar Gadhafi’s guerilla army, slowly built up an international following making few concessions to outside audiences, and just recently won a Grammy. Actually, it’s hard to imagine any greater ballers of music than this legendary, long-running outfit, whose name simply means “Deserts” in the Tuareg language. (more…)
I’ve already briefly addressed it, but Little Boots’s new album, Headphones, is getting the finishing touches for release! By now a few songs have been released and a couple videos have been made:
Little Boots aka Victoria Hesketh is immensely talented, and by far the best of the crop of recent electronically-influenced pop singer-songwriters (such as La Roux, Lady Gaga, Adele, etc). If her upcoming album is as good as her debut, she’ll be a serious contender for a Great Ballers of Music honor. She has a fantastic voice,her songs are intelligent, immensely catchy, and usually quite danceable. If anything the new album seems even more dancefloor oriented. Favorites from the previous, debut album, Hands after the jump
Quick thought here. Read any “respectable” piece of print and the guy who rocks a dancefloor, gets down on the wheels of steel, or drops a bo choon, selecta! is referred to as a “deejay.” NO NO NO. It looks stupid – nobody writes “teevee” – and no self-respecting artist would spell it like that. The word is an acronym, and should ALWAYS BE WRITTEN DJ. This goes for MC, too, by the way. That’s all I have to say on that. Rewind, selecta!
In a slight stylistic deviation from much of the in-your-face music I love so much, we arrive today at the Raveonettes, one of my absolute favorite currently active and touring bands. They’re somewhat well-known, but not too much. Misdemeanor-ly unappreciated if not criminally unappreciated, I suppose. In any case, they are very, very dear to my heart, and here’s why:
Where to even begin? A true living legend, multilingual global troubadour, the leader of two amazing bands and the man behind several brilliant albums for himself and others, and a veritable musical chameleon, capable of three-hour live sets run at breakneck speed.
(Lots of good stuff and a TON of videos after the jump)