Hola Nola: XXX

Hola Nola- it's hard to believe that people have already busted out the longjohns and thermals in response to the abrupt cold front cutting through the summer swelter, and it can only mean one thing:  Columbus Day Weekend is upon us. There's much ado in town over the three days (including the ironic booking by Tulane of band Local Natives to play Monday night), such as uptown's Whole Foods' Apple Harvest Fest, City Park's New Orleans On Tap (featuring over 200 beers to taste with live music by Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes), and GentillyFest in the newly renovated Pontchartrain Park.

This holiday is an important recognition of our country's earliest beginnings, and has been fed to America's children through a lens of glory, victory, and courageous discovery. Today's playlist is inspired by this deceitful slant on a more complicated celebration. The Mix provides a mixed bag of sentiments representational of Christopher's self-acclaimed claim.

To start off are Atlanta's 'flower-punk' band the Black Lips with 'Veni Vedi Vici', not one the group's singles, but a great tune perfectly appropriate for this week's theme. These guys are crazy, especially on stage- hardly a show goes by where someone is not vomiting, urinating, or making out with someone on stage, which has caused a lot of friction with the locals each night (not unlike our main man Columbus). This track is the third off the band's fourth studio album Good Bad Not Evil, also quite descriptive of CC. The next group is a serious side project on behalf of Vampire Weekend's keyboardist (Rostam Batmanglij) and Ra Ra Riot's main squeeze Wes Miles. The two friends began recording together in 2005, but didn't release their album LPuntil 2009, under the name Discovery. Today’s pick is their re-alteration of the pre-existing RRR tune, 'Can You Tell', re-titled 'Can You Discover'. For their best beat, check out 'Orange Shirt'.

 

Before Mr. West reduced himself to the limits of vocoders on the synthonic 808s and Heartbreak, Hip Hop's head honcho chopped up samples on College Dropout, Late Registration, and the solid Graduation. This third record strayed from the first two in terms of lyrical verbosity (ignoring social commentary and indulging in introspective personal matters) focusing more on new sounds and experimentation with electronic production. 'The Glory', however, sounds like his older days of children on background vocals, and a gospel church rhythm and sway. If anyone can compete for being the biggest 'Mothaf*ckin Monsta', it's Kanye and Columbus…talk about egos. Similar in title, but different in vibe is Portishead's 'Glory Box', a 1995 single that has been snatched by various top notch soundtracks from Stealing Beauty to The Craft. Beth Gibbons begs 'I just wanna be a woman', yet is featured in the music video dressed as a man- a paradox, just like Columbus Day.

 

From glory to 'Victory' waltz in The Walkmen, with this sixth track off the group's sixth studio album, Lisbon. It may have been more appropriate for this to be off the band's Bows + Arrows (for obvious reasons), but this most recent album has been positively received (8.6 by almighty Pitchfork), and here is a tender live performance during this summer's Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal. Before these D.C./N.Y. rockers had dibs on such a song title, bad boys Diddy and Biggie busted out their own take on 'Victory' (sampling Rocky’s fight theme)in 1998. Notorious was murdered the year before, but had already recorded the vocals for this track. As a favor to Puff. Both Dennis Hopper and Danny DeVito have cameo's in the tune's close to $300K music video. Hola extravagance, hola Columbus.

 

 

Leaving the tone of praise while simultaneously entering the most patriotic territory this playlist has to offer, we get our hands dirty with protest singer/songwriter Phil Ochs with 'The Power and the Glory'. Ochs wrote this in 1963 for the album All the News That's Fit to Sing (a title originially considered for film Newsies ), and claimed it was the best song he'd ever write. Their objections may differ, but in his chorus Ochs describes what Columbus may very well have uttered upon arrival on shore:

Here is a land full of power and glory

Beauty that words cannot recall

Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom

Her glory shall rest on us all (on us all)

R.I.P., P.O.

Speaking of beauty that words cannot recall, hola Pocahontas and 'Colors of the Wind', a protest song more outright than outspoken Ochs. I would quote Poca here, but I'd have to recite the entire song, so just enjoy this nostalgic clip (unless it hasn't been that long since you've seen/heard this one, I feel you). Relevance can be found in band and song title in the next selection: Oh Land's 'Sun of A Gun'. Like Columbus, Oh Land traveled the sea (from Denmark) to the United States, and has since been bringing creative new sounds and techniques to the art of music making; this rooftop performance illustrates Oh Land's unique tactics and professional strategy, putting her in the ring with our remembered explorer. And because no one best suits the term 'son of a gun', we close with a remix of this new hit, a re-edit I unabashedly prefer to the original. Get your Columbus Weekend party started with Yuksek's Francophone take on Oh Land's first steps in the land of opportunity.

And that sums it up, except for the jumpoff that best defines this holiday…hola Jay Z's 'The Takeover' .

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