Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No Longer Availables

Lala is dead. Sorry for all the unsightly No Longer Availables and frustrating dead links throughout the site, but until I can find a comparable service, they'll be around.

Stay tuned for some new posts when I figure out a new plan for embedding music.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


New Fall album today. I wanted to post their "Victoria" cover, but no luck on Lala. That's fine, because thanks to the AV Club's "Gateway to Geekery" column last week, I figured out for the first time that this Fall classic "There's A Ghost in My House" is a cover! From their Elvisly titled greatest hits(!!!) collection...

Album covers via Wikipedia.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The end of Lala

Lala.com will shut down at the end of the month. There was understandably lots of talk yesterday about what the closing of the site meant for users, but, with the exception of this AV Club story, I didn't see anything about the effect on music bloggers and similar sites.

I had wanted to start SftD for a long time, and it was Lala's combination of track embeds, ease of use, the large and legal catalog, and reasonable restrictions—a genuine sample-before-you-buy model—that made it possible. Pitchfork was an early adopter clearly seeing all of these advantages and I've been seeing the service pop up more and more on music blogs recently.

Apple seems likely to integrate some of Lala's feature into iTunes (or a new service), hopefully the track embeds will continue. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what a site like Pitchfork—Lala's top "influencer"—does. (And wouldn't it would be great if Apple's new service includes some legacy links for the old embeds so that I don't have to rebuild the last six months of posts?)

Friday, April 30, 2010


After hearing the story of Mingering Mike earlier this week, I've been thinking a lot about fictional bands. When Guided By Voices released their first rarities boxset, Suitcase: Failed Experiments and Trashed Aircraft, they created pseudonymous band names for different phases of the band's career. Here is the Antler version of "Buzzards and Dreadful Crows".

As a bonus, I've included a demo collage from 1992's Propellor that starts with this "Buzzards".

More on fictional bands to follow.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sample Maps

Blogger/author/musician Ethan Hein has created some sample maps, graphically illustrating the paths of artists and the music they create or sample. Here is one he made for the music of Beyonce, by which I learned of this Betty Wright sample on "Upgrade U".

Many other sample maps can be found on Ethan's Flickr page here. Including a map of all the sample RZA uses on the GZA album "Liquid Swords"—I never would've heard the Frank Zappa in there without this.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


There's a new Hole album today... enjoy this cover from 1994's Live Through This. I've talked a lot about quiet covers, here is a loud cover. I've always been amazed how well this song fit into the album. It somehow sounds more like Hole than the Hole songs on the record.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Jay-Z has history of using other rappers lyrics, especially Notorious B.I.G., in his own rhymes, leading to accusations of theft, Nas using it against him during their feud on the song Ether. Jay-Z defends himself on "What More Can I Say". He claims when he uses one of Biggie's lyrics he is only honoring his fellow Brooklynite, rapping "I'm not a biter/ I'm a writer/ For myself and others/ I say a B.I.G. verse I'm only biggin' up my brother". The line that follows is one of B.I.G.'s from the song "Rap Phenomenon". "What More Can I Say" also uses the same MFSB sample as "Keep Your Hands High", by Tracey Lee and Biggie.

The B.I.G lyric Jay-Z borrows is "The rings and things you sing about, bring 'em out. It's hard to yell when the bar-rel's in your mouth." A few years later, that lifted lyric was sampled as the chorus for T.I.'s hit "Bring 'Em Out", no obvious reference made to Biggie's original line.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


R.I.P Guru. It's sad that he apparently made a deathbed renunciation of his Gang Starr partner, DJ Premier, as they have this inspired bit of sampling as a highlight of their legacy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

American Idiots

Green Day's American Idiot opens on Broadway tonight. Here's the before and after of a musical makeover.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I saw last week that Liquid Liquid is back together and played on Jimmy Fallon. [via stereogum]

The song is now best known for being "sampled" for Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines (Don't Do It)". The bassline was in fact replayed by Sugar Hill houseband bassist Doug Wimbish.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Get Moneys

On the new Erykah Badu album, "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh", there is a song called "Turn Me Away (Get MuNNy)". She more-than-half-half covers the Sylvia Striplin song "You Can't Turn Me Away" (slightly different lyrics), but she also lifts the chorus call-out from one of the many songs that samples Striplin, in this case the Junior M.A.F.I.A./Biggie song, "Get Money".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Sensations

I've posted about Beck's Record Club before. Great stuff. They're working on INXS' Kick now. Here's the hit (or at least one of them). I particularly the glimpse we get into the band listening to the song at the start of the video.

Record Club: INXS "New Sensation" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I had missed last year's Iron & Wine reissues album, Around the Well until this past weekend, when I came across his cover of New Order's "Love Vigilantes" on the Current. While this cover as well as the Flaming Lips and Postal Service covers—I'm sure that I first heard of I&W through "Such Great Heights"—are fine variations on the bare-acoustic treatment, he really gets it right on this Stereolab cover.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Covers of samples of covers of...

The Roots - Dilla Joints (Mixtape)

SFTD reader Mark passed along this gem—the Roots covering the sample-based tracks of the late J Dilla—pointing out that Roots love to work with "acoustic instrumental imitations of synthesized or computer created sounds." He had first brought this to my attention when the Roots played as Jay-Z's band for his MTV Unplugged, replaying the sample-heavy production of Kanye West, Timbaland, etc. Here is the the acoustic-electronic-acoustic life cycle of a Timbaland sample.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Get Up Offas

In a recent paper, I compare the Roman poet Virgil with James Brown—that is, they both become for those who follow an extremely common source of imitation and sampling. Today's post, like Wednesday's, is a listen-on-demand source list for one of the most heavily used James Brown samples, the horn strikes in "Get Up Offa That Thing", here compiled by cross-referencing the whosampled.com page and Lala. One thing I love about this particular sample is how ridiculously short it is, while still retaining its original character, and how it has become a part of the DJ vernacular, referring both to JB and the sample's long tradition.

The source...

The products (by no means a complete list)...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Smash Your Heads

In a paper I'm presenting Friday at Rutgers—a comparison of "sampling" techniques in Latin patchwork poems called centos and mashups—I use Girl Talk's "Smash Your Head" as an example of the mashup aesthetic. I decided to put together a complete listen-on-demand source list for the song by cross-referencing the the wikipedia article and the Lala catalog. More paper-related info to follow.

The product...

The sources...

Passin' Me By - The Pharcyde
[For a sample trail of the "Passin' Me By," see this post.]

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I spotted this Tuesday in Jon Savage's Guardian review of the upcoming Krautrock sampler, Elektronische Musik. Q-Tip is no stranger to a well-turned sample, but the decision to slow down this Can sample is truly inspired. (Slowed down, and still not slow!)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Sampling samples has been a recent interest of mine. What I love about this one is that Girl Talk seems to have latched on to M|A|R|R|S as a precursor of his style of mashups and possibly entering into a game of sampling one-upsmanship. Here is Girl Talk's sample of M|A|R|R|S' sample of Eric B and Rakim.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Radiohead's Kid A, and "Idioteque" specifically, pushed the band decisively in its avantish, electronica-soundplay direction. What I didn't realize until recently (after following up a song blog comments from the Willens post earlier on Monday) that "Idioteque" was sample-based.

Part of the story is here on Paul Lansky's site. A sample from his composition, "Mild und Leise", based itself on a theme from Wagner's (in)famous Tristan chord, forms the harmonic center of Radiohead's song.

Mild und Leise - Paul Lansky

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


A week late, but time here is relative. Everyone who comes into contact with this song remains a teenager forever. R.I.P. Alex Chilton.

Monday, March 22, 2010


"It's a mind and ear-opening exercise to think cross-musically like this, and besides, it's what we're all doing consciously and subconsciously every day." Tom Service, Guardian, 3/19/10.

A great article on the links between indie rock and 20th-century classical with a link to another great article by Max Willens.

Willens article has some Lala-driven comparisons in the SFTD style, which I will leave there for sampling... recommending particularly the Monteverdi influence in Sunday Day in Glasgow and Dirty Projectors.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Sympathy for the Double has made it to 100 posts about samples, covers, mixes, and various other musical doubles. To celebrate, here are some of my favorite posts of the past six months...

John Oswald & Michael Jackson
Nirvana & Devo
DJs on film
Pavement & Prince
Elastica & Wire
Sufjan Stevens & The Beatles
Built to Spill & Classic-Rock Philosophy
Everybody Else & The Rolling Stones
From The Lovin' Spoonful to Girl Talk
Beck & Serge Gainsbourg

Monday, March 8, 2010


Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, a sad story. Here is a cover of a Daniel Johnston song that Linkous did with the Flaming Lips a few years ago.

[A side note, I really love the way this covers record, The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered, is packaged, disc one with the covers and disc two with the originals.]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Peter Gabriel released a covers album this week. The songs are slowed down, stripped down, and generally down. Here is his Bon Iver cover which by comparison manages to make the original sound positively upbeat.

Monday, March 1, 2010

China Girls

Bowie and Pop wrote "China Girl" for Pop's 1977 album The Idiot. As the story goes, Bowie recorded it for Let's Dance to help Pop with the royalties.