Archive for Music

Getting home with the downies.

Posted in Music, Rants with tags on April 10, 2008 by frumpunk

I don’t like rap. I’ve tried to like it, but the lack of instruments and the typical lyrical themes just turn me off. When it came out and was cool, I listened to Eminems ‘Marshall Mathers LP’ all the way through. When you’re a 14 year old Jewish kid at summer camp you feel like a badass quoting it, but I grew out of that fast. When I was at the stage where I didn’t want to listen to non-Jewish music but still wanted good music I listened to a lot of Black Hattitude. I can probably still rap several of their songs all the way through. Its almost embarrassing.

On a social scale, I feel rap is the anti-thesis of old black music. Blues I can get down with. I got nothing, and they’re trying to take it away from me. Guys with names like Muddy and Buddy. Rap is pimps and hos and “look what I gots”. Its like along with emancipation on a social scale the art of having nothing has been replaced with the art of trying to look like you have everything.

The only thing worse than regular rap is Jewish rap. Shlock Rock… please go back to rewriting U2 and Billy Joel. Seriously, for the sake of everything thats decent. (“Hey you, I’m a Jew and I think it’s cool. Yeah I eat kosher meat, ’cause I ain’t no fool.”)

I tested out the headline on my brother who only got one of the jokes in the headline. If you get both, please tell me so I don’t feel like my humor goes over peoples head.

Have another nargilah.

Posted in Funny?, Music with tags on April 7, 2008 by frumpunk

I attended my first Bat Mitzvah tonight. It was one of those incredibly wealthy and incredibly secular type of families. The older brothers wore grey suits with trendy spiked hair. What’s wrong with people like that? Spiked hair with a suit at a formal function is not a good idea, no matter what those ads in GQ look like.

Anyways, the bat mitzvah girl gave a speech that honestly made me cringe. It just felt to wrong to hear her say brochos, and translate the prayers so she was saying how all Israel looks to Hashem for salvation every day and we only hope for you… They don’t even keep kosher, this was all so wrong. In between her speeches a Sephardi rabbi got up and sang various shabbos songs for some reason. Ashes Chayil, Doror Yikra… I don’t know why. After the speeches came the real bat mitzvah; the dancing! They had a black DJ, a really cool guy called Big Al. He had a real “soul brother” voice, deep and slow. He had obviously done his fair share of Jewish events before, he knew what to say. He played a decent selection, but it was all a bit disconcerting to me to see 12 year old girls dancing while “Smack That” plays. (Sample lyric: “Smack that, get on the floor/Smack that, give me some more/Smack that, ’till you get sore) While I imagine smacking that can be quite the thrill, I’d prefer not to have 12 year olds involved. He was decent though, also playing Scissor Sisters, Michael Jackson and ending with Frank Sinatra. Sadly, it also involved four hours of Take That and Girls Aloud.

Now, onto Hava Nagilah. THEY LOVE IT. Hava Nagilah was sang to various tunes, including Ani Maamin and Yidden. Yes, they made it fit. The Hava Nagilahs ran rampant over melodies and tunes, caring not what they bashed through on their way to more renditions of Hava Nagilah. Simen Tov was also popular, though less so than Hava Nagilah.

Adding to the entertainment, the lucky girl goes to a non-Jewish high school, so most of her friends weren’t even Jewish. I still got my fill of fun though, looking over the guest list at names like “Charlotte Feldman”, “Tiffany Shwartz” and “Crucifix Finkelstein”.

Check out the video I shot of possibly the best moment: The Isley Brothers version of “Twist and Shout”.

(Note to self, edit later to remove the rambling, make post funnier. Do both before posting.)

The sound of ears breaking

Posted in Me with tags on April 2, 2008 by frumpunk

Many years ago I started a band with a friend. We were both just learning to play guitar and both held the same dissatisfaction with the Jewish music scene. He was into classic rock and I was into punk. We decided to start a Jewish band that actually made good music.

I have to point out that this was pre-Blue Fringe and the rest. Matisyahu would have been a fable. Who would have thought what we failed at would become so popular a few years later? So at the time this was a completely novel idea.

Anyways, doing this blog made me a bit nostalgic so I dug up my old CD binder. I have about four CD’s filled with various demos and covers that we did. They all sound horrible, cheap equipment and recorded on a cheap laptop with a cheap mic from Radioshack. Don’t go expecting anything listenable here. My tone is horrible and I don’t think he can sing. Theres also no mastering or production to speak of. Anyways, be the first to hear these rarities from what might have been!

Theres two Jewish songs, plus an English one (Yechi). (See how stereotypically Jewish we were? 🙂 )

Note: ‘Yechi’ is a joke. We’re not Lubavitchers. It was kind of a phase where we found them hilarious. Lyrics available on request if you can’t understand them.

Instructions: Click on the link. Look to the bottom where it says “Loading File Info”. After a few seconds “Download File” should appear. Ignore the sign up offer at the top right.

So what are you looking for? (nu?)

Posted in Me, Shidduchim with tags , on March 11, 2008 by frumpunk

Ah, that wonderful question. You’re a nice young man of marriageable age. What type of girl are you looking for.

I never have a good answer to that. Do I use the common list of adjectives? “well I just want a girl who is nice, kind with good middos…” Oh goody, I just described how every girl and their yentas describe themselves. I’m not looking for some type of girl. I’m looking for the girl who fits best with me. I don’t know how to describe her. I’m looking for an individual, not an employee who ticks the boxes on my checklist of attributes. Nevermind the fact that all girls are described the same… “pretty, kind, smart with lovely middos”.

Truth be told, the way I feel and the way I would see it happening is pretty well described in the NOFX song We Got Two Jealous Agains”

“I thought you were the one when I heard Holidays in the Sun come from your bedroom / But when I saw Christ on Parade. And this is Boston, not LA. I knew you were the one. / I knew you were for me when I saw the first Vandals EP / I knew you were the one when I saw Machine Gun Etiquette. I knew you were the one when I saw the Peace War comp.”

I guess it’s about finding the person who shares your quirks and idiosyncrasies… or is at least willing to put up with them.

Song of the post:

On Lipa Being Banned

Posted in Politics, Rants with tags , , on March 5, 2008 by frumpunk

This was not meant to be the first post. Far from it. The first post was intended to be a little history of me and the beginnings of this blog. However, the day I set up the blog a major event like this happens. Incredibly apropos, so lets discuss the issue at hand.

This topic has already been mentioned by major bloggers such as Frum Satire but I have a different problem with it altogether.

The banning was expected. No major event like this could be allowed to happen without some controversy. The surprising thing was that the protest actually succeeded. Unlike last year when the concert in Israel went ahead despite the protest, Lipa has pulled out, and Sheya Mendlowitz is now scrambling to refund money to advertisers and ticket holders. The usual rhetoric was pulled out. Statements such as “…the sight of dancing and singing performers would cause ribaldry and lightheadedness that would lure young people away from spiritual purity…” and “…strip the youth of every shred of fear of heaven…”

What is this, Purim? Do they really believe that the Jewish world is so on the edge that the sight of Lipa Schmelzer will send the youth off the cliff to secularism in droves? This kind of thing honestly sickens me. The Jewish world that these people reside in is so enclosed and filled with such a lack of outlets. This is the one thing Chassidic kids can look forward to and then just two weeks before it happened the rug is pulled out. For heavens sake, the concert was going to have a mechitza, separate entrances, and Lipa had promised only to perform traditional Chassidic melodies. This kind of banning is what disillusions kids and sends them off the derech. The lack of kosher outlets and hyperbole spewed by their “leaders”, and when I say leaders here, I mean two people in the community with an axe to pick. The problem is that in the frum world, once someone protests something, noone will stand up to them for fear of being seen “less than frum”. The text of the banning was copied word for word from the one last year for Israel, and it was brought before prominent American rabbis with the promise that it had already been approved by the Israeli rabbis. However: Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky of Philadelphia, told The Jewish Star that the rabbis did not verify the claim that the edict had been approved by Israeli rabbis. “Usually we meet together. This time, with time pressing, we did not meet together, and maybe it was not the right thing,” he said, according to Hamodia.”

Well so much for that. Congratulations, you’ve managed to destroy a persons livelihood (Mr. Mendlowitz, who now has to reimburse 3000 ticket holders, the event sponsors, and Madison Square Garden for the rental. And The Garden don’t rent cheap. It’s estimated he’s $700,000 in the hole for this one.) a rare night of entertainment for frum people and you’ve tainted Lipa Shmeltzers name by associating the idea of him performing with people going off the derech. Worse of all, you’ve lost G-D knows how much money for the charity Simchat Tzion, a group that makes weddings for orphaned brides and grooms in Israel. All in a weeks work, aye?

Another excellent piece on this is in Yeshiva World. Also, I remembered this classic post reminding us that bans on kosher fun are worldwide and nowwhere near new.