I just want to hear a good beat

[Double-posted from]

You know … I really ought to be paying attention to the presidential debates.

But VH-1’s week-long documentary on hip-hop, And You Don’t Stop (sucky Flash site — unusable as hell), has totally grabbed my attention.

And I’ll be the first to admit I’m no fan of hip-hop. But the makers of the documentary do such a thorough job explaining the history and context behind hip-hop culture, it’s riveting.

I’ve always believed that a person who doesn’t like a form of music just doesn’t know what to listen for. Take classical music — it requires work to puzzle out something like sonata form, but once you learn it, it’s easier to listen to a Franz Josef Hadyn symphony for the first time.

And You Don’t Stop is a great crash course on how to understand hip-hop. I just may have to find some Public Enemy, and I may not be so quick to be dismissive of Dr. Dre. I’ll put up with Eminem, but I still think he’s an asshat.

Ice-T compared hip-hop to country music, and it made sense. Speaking of which, the BBC documentary, Lost Highway (which aired on CMT), is also rather fascinating. Since it was made by Britons, the tone of the documentary is much more reserved and objective than most CMT productions, which are nothing but country music pep rallies anyway. (Yay, Kenny Chesney!) I hope CMT will air it again.

Here’s where the story ends

For all the country fans enamoured with the voice of Mindy Smith, you may be interested to learn in her former life, she went under the name Harriett Wheeler and sang for a band called the Sundays.

Oh, wait — she didn’t?

Sure sounds like it to me.

[Edited to add: Don’t mistake this tone for snark — ‘cos for some reason, I miss the Sundays.]

Favorite albums of 2004 (so far)

Yes, I’m floating the Jack Black stereotype of the list-making music fanatic. Why expect anything less?

Favorite albums of 2004 (so far)

A mid-term report

  1. Art-School, Love/Hate
  2. Supercar, Answer
  3. Kicell, Mado ni Chikyuu
  4. Quruli, Antenna
  5. Straightener, Lost World’s Anthology

I also like these albums, but not enough to give them a definitive rank.

  • m-flo, Astromantic
  • Kanye West, College Drop-Out
  • Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
  • The Butchies, Make Yr Life
  • Higurashi Aiha, Born Beautiful

Is that record deal in your pocket …?

Minnie Driver has signed a record deal. Her debut album, Everything I’ve Got In My Pocket, will be released on Rounder Records’ Zöe imprint in September. She’ll be labelmates with the Cowboy Junkies, the BoDeans and the Bacon Brothers, one of whom is named Kevin (as in Six Degrees of … ?)

Yes. I am irrationally pleased with this news, despite the fact the local press trashed her SXSW performance this past March. And the fact Pete Yorn is involved should pretty gauge the default level of “suck” this album faces.

But — Minnie Driver!