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stevie-wonder-13Today wasn’t supposed to be a very pleasant day. For one, it’s Thursday – a day that corporate life has taught me to loathe for various logistical reasons. Not helping was the fact that I had a bunch of stuff I had to write for my company’s Manufacturing domain, which (as glamorous as it sounds) makes watching paint dry seem like attending a Tool concert, high on LSD and surrounded by the entire cast of Harold & Kumar.

To prepare myself for days like these, I listen to a lot of music on my way to office. Yesterday, I downloaded a bunch of sounds from the mp3 blog – Souled On – one of my favourite places to haunt online. I came across this song ‘As’ by Stevie Wonder and a recent cover version by George Michaels and Mary J. Blige I had heard the cover version a couple of times on the now defunct and quite possibly France’s greatest contribution to Chennai – The MCM channel. It was straight-up, white ass R&B with Ms Blige channeling the spirit of Gloria Gayner. But it sounded alright. But since it never could match up to the deranged pop styling of “Killer Papa Was A Rolling Stone”, “As” turned out be my second favourite Michaels’ track (possibly the last).

The good blokes at Souled On also included the original version sung to perfection by Stevie Wonder. The song itself is a whiff of summer breeze, the sort that encourages the mind wander off to unchartered places at a pace that will have you tapping your feet. The chorus is a different beast altogether….with a melody that will stick to your brain like peanut butter on broken glass. The Blues-inspired closing sequence will have you reaching for as many versions of “Little Red Rooster” as you can get your grubby hands on.

stevie-wonderNo seriously, this is one of the most fantastic sounds I have heard all year. With Stevie’s vocals soaring like it hasn’t since “Pastime Paradise”, “As” is living proof that intention behind creating the Rhythm and Blues genre was a perfectly soulful one.

Damming evidence too that music can save your sorry ass.

Fuck you, Thursday. Thank you, Stevie Wonder.

Watch

Stevie Wonder – As

Mary J Blige & George Michael – As

Download

http://souledonmusic.blogspot.com (you’ll find mp3 versions of both tracks when you scroll down to the Love Lockdown: The Go Nicole Yourself Edition)

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2855jpgSometimes I become really obtuse and I refuse to download music albums. Hence the paranoia about the World Wide Web taking away the intricacies of appreciating music. Saving money for over a month, just to buy one friggin’ CD. The almost caveman-like rage, which takes over the mind the moment it fathoms that the difficulty involved in tearing apart the plastic cover around the CD case. The smell of the artwork on the inside pages. The artwork itself. Reading the album credits and linear notes and realizing that the band’s vocalist has been influenced big-time by one of your favourite musicians from the Seventies. The momentary lapse in reason and the speculative rumours that lead you to believe that there is indeed a hidden track.

Having said that, I know it’s not as though we are missing on a bunch of magical experiences by solely relying on the Internet to feast on music. Hell, it’s barely an experience that lasts all of 20 minutes. And yes, the Internet has liberalized my taste in music to the extent that I actively search for remixes of Grunge tracks, as well as introduced me to sounds without which my nights would have been a lot less comfortable. But I am pretty sure that somehow I had greater respect for music back then when I used to skip every other lunch at high school just to get that Chemical Brothers’ album. Now I download out-of-print EPs and rare recordings over brunch and lime cooler.

So does that mean that Internet fanboys are more deserving music enthusiasts than tape traders?

While you figure that out, I’ll tell you this much…

Last week, I bought Encomium (Led Zeppelin tribute) for 175 bucks and as I was driving around Spurtank Road with Jerry, Stone Temple Pilots’ blistering cover of Dancing Days slow-burned its way through the car stereo. Scott Weiland’s vocals swung like a pendulum with midlife crisis between being sultry and being tortured with Dean DeLeo exorcising the spirit of Jimmy Page on an acoustic guitar. All the while, Jerry was examining the album’s artwork and shooting some seriously tripped out glances at the lyrics.

And all I could think of was, “man, if I can only convince those bastards at Landmark to slash prices on Sandman and Maus comics.”

Watch

Stone Temple Pilots – Dancing Days

Buy

Encomium – Various Artists

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A pocketful of flashy fun

pocket-tanksI trash-talk while playing flash games with my office colleagues. I think there’s a special place in hell reserved for me.

Anyway, Pocket Tanks rules in so many ways.

Download it and you’ll see an entirely new perspective on the concept of working overtime.

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The Internet is not your friend. It might want you to think that way, but it really is not. And without further adieu, and with a great deal of difficulty…

Download

Queens Of The Stone Age – Lullaby

Saul Williams – Twice Upon A Time

Buy

Queens Of The Stone Age’s Lullabies To Paralyze

Saul Williams’ Amethyst Rock Star

P.S. Thank you Box

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Jukeboxed

Sometimes a song comes along that makes you want to toss chestnuts into the fire. Maybe even a few goosebumps.

Glory Juke Box (Live in Roseland NYC) – Portishead

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