Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Israeli Alternative

This past summer, I went to see Dengue Fever at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia. I had just moved into an apartment in Old City after living outside Philly for 15 years. A college friend living in Boston had emailed me a track from Dengue Fever, and two days later I was at a sold out concert in what is now my favorite live music venue. The place started getting a little too hot so I went outside for some fresh air. That's where I met Ramon "el rock" Martinez who has a show on Y-Rock on XPN. The show, called Y-Rock Internacional, has a foundation of rock in Spanish, but Ramon also does shows on music from different parts of the world. I told him that I was an expert in Israeli music, particularly progressive rock, reggae, DJ mixes, samba, and any other alternative music. This summer we taped a show, which aired sometime in September.

I've been meaning to put a guide for that program on this site. My hope is that Y-Rock will make the show available as a podcast, or maybe I can get a good recording of it and post it on This Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 7:00PM, I'll be giving a similar talk on the same subject at Steinhardt Hall (215 South 39th St.) in Philadelphia. Click here for more info.

Here's the playlist with some notes on the selections. Where possible, I've linked the artist's name to their site or MySpace page. The album name, in parenthesis, has a link to a store where you can buy the album. At the end of the post I link to a few videos featuring some of the artists discussed on this page. Finally there are links to Amazon where you can buy some of the tracks on this list as MP3.

I am a huge Shem Tov Levi fan. (See previous post.) In 2007 he put out an album called Stations. I found out about this album because my father forwarded me a video clip of his ensemble at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat. I was hooked immediately. In the 1970's, Shem Tov set out to create a new style of music; in 2007 he succeeded. I don't know how to categorize this song or this kind of music.
Here's a clip from the Red Sea Jazz Festival:
mezzo performance of shem tov levy ensemble

Kutiman brings together a lot of the goodness on the Israeli music scene. See some of the videos below where he orchestrates a collaboration between Funk 'N' Stein and Karolina.

The second disc is finally out, but it seems like you need to call to ask for a copy. I'll do this next time I'm in Israel. Here's a link their MySpace page.

I'm such a big fan of this album and this band, that I am bringing them to Philadelphia for a concert at the North Star Bar on December 27, 2008.

Great news: The second Lemmus Lemmus album is out. You can download it as MP3 at Amazon.

Here's a bunch of fans singing along with the band:

These guys have played Rome, Barcelona, Spain, New York and Tokyo. I think they may be ready to play Philly.

New Release for 2008: Buzzin About

  • Charlie Megira - Live At The Hotel Diplomat
And now for some videos:

Shem Tov Levi Ensemble - The City

J.Viewz Rehearsal - Under the Sun with Yossi Fine

The Apples - Killing In The Name Of (Rage Against The Machine Cover: Live!)

Kutiman and Karolina - Music Is Ruling My World


Buy these tracks on Amazon:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Six Day War in MP3

A two record documentary about the 6 Day War by Kol Yisrael and Galei Tzahal.

The documentary is in Hebrew. I did my best to clean up the audio quality, but you will still hear some of the clicks and pops from the record.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Yom Yerushalayim is on June 2, 2008.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shem-Tov Levi Day

Wow! What an absurd day!

When I was thinking about my vacation time in Israel, I set a number of priorities. Most of them were musical. I wanted to get new excellent Israeli music. Spend quality time in record shops. Try to get to my favorite station, Kol HaCampus. And hear some good music: live. But who would I see. If I had my druthers, I would see Shem-Tov Levi. He's one of my all time Israeli favorites. Also on my list would be the Girafot: one of the best bands in Israel today. There's a much bigger list, but lets leave it here for now.

So, as I was perusing the concert listings on the City Mouse, I found a listing for Tzlil Mechuvan, or Tuned Tone, at Kamelot in Herzliya. Tuned Tone is the name of a group, who put out an album, with a title track of the same name. The group consisted of Shem-Tov Levi, Shlomo Yidov and Yitzchak "Slow Hand" Klapter, who is also known as Churchill. I was totally psyched to go. Shem-Tov and Shlomo Yidov were together on Ktzat Acheret or No Names, one of the finest Israeli Progressive albums of the 1970s. But one of my favorite Israeli Progressive albums ever is called "Waking Up" by Shem-Tov Levi.

The cover of Waking Up has Shem-Tov Levi sitting with a red tee shirt at Cafe Tamar on Shenkin Street in Tel-Aviv with a cup of coffee and a croissant. I always wanted to take a picture in the same pose at the same place. I thought it would make a great album cover for an Israeli Progressive mix. I thought of calling it "Progressiveness," or in Hebrew Hitkadmut. For the past three years I've been trying to stage the photo, but with no success. But once I booked a ticket for an actual Shem-Tov Levi show, I knew that I would have to go through with the picture. And besides, I had a willing partner. My friend Sarah Godfrey had some time off work and told me she would take the picture. Here's Sarah doing her Shem-Tov Levi impression:
And here's the album cover in question:
After taking about 20 different pictures, we settled on one in particular. I printed up the picture at my friend Howard Glanzman's apartment. Howard, his friend Rachel and I were going off to the Tuned Tone show together, but Howard wanted to stop at Tel Aviv University for Student Day. A friend of a friend's boyfriend was playing in one of the bands on the second stage. I figured, why not? It's on the way.
When we walked into the campus, it sounded like the DJ was playing Girafot. As I got closer to the stage, I realized it wasn't a DJ at all, but it was the Girafot. What amazing luck! I stumbled into a Girafot show unintentionally. (See clips of the show on the embedded YouTube playlist.)
From there we went to see Tuned Tone at Kamelot. To make the day even more awesome, they were playing Steely Dan before the band came on. I was urged by Rachel to get my pic signed by Shem-Tov. After all: that's one of the reasons for all that silliness with the picture. I tried to get backstage, but saw that there was no backstage: instead I found the musicians in a tiny, bare room near the kitchen. Shem-Tov was pleased to sign my picture. I tried not to gush too much.
The inscription reads:
Dear Adam,
Keep progressing.
-Shem-Tov Levi
Here's some video clips from that day: 

Friday, March 21, 2008

Purim 2008

So, the Richter Party was awesome as usual.
The next day I made a feast. Here's the dishes and the preparation:
Ramen Noodle Soup with Sliced Bison:

I really wanted to make this in a miso soup, but couldn't track down miso paste in time.
  • Beef Bullion
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Bison
  • Mushrooms
  • Soy Sauce
  • Asparagus
  • Scallions
  • Parsley
  • Snow Peas
  • Lime
Marinate bison in soy sauce for half an hour.
Roast bison. Let cool then slice.
Saute mushrooms in a frying pan.
Boil some water with beef bullion cubes. Add asparagus.
Chop parsley and scallions.
Add ramen noodles to soup.
Put noodles into a bowl with some asparagus, top with snow peas, mushrooms, scallion and parsley, pour some soup over it, squeeze a lime.

Lamb Chop with Mint Couscous

  • Lamb Chops
  • Persian cucumbers
  • Fresh Mint
  • Curry
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Pink Grapefruit
  • Couscous
Squeeze the juice of half the pink grapefruit, a lemon and a lime into a ziploc bag. Add curry, mint and lamb chops and marinate.
Make couscous, garnish with fresh mint leaves. (Note: add mint right before plating. If you put the mint into the still-hot couscous, the leaves will turn black.)
Roast the lamb chops.
Plate the lamb chops with a scoop of couscous, topped with fresh mint, a sprig of mint on the side, and sliced persian cucumber with sea salt.

Beef Rib with Sweet Potato Fries

  • Beef Ribs
  • Chipotle powder
  • Harbanero pepper
  • Basamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Sweet Potato
  • Baby Carrots
  • Houmous
  • Olive Oil
Chop half a harbanero pepper, throw into a ziploc bag with beef ribs, chipotle powder, balsamic and red wine vinegar. (Note: when working with hot peppers, it's always best to use surgical gloves. Otherwise you hands, and anything they touch, will burn.)
Cut sweet potato into fries. Pan fry them in vegetable oil. Add sea salt after removing from the pan.
Roast beef ribs.
Plate ribs with sweet potato fries, baby carrots, houmous with olive oil and a dash of chipotle powder for color, sliced persian cucumber and parsley.
I added parsley to the plate to foreshadow the next festival.

Monday, March 03, 2008

the sixth mix

The sixth mix in this six mix series is done. Now I'd like to rest, maybe watch a movie or read a book and generally take it easy. Well, that is until this weekend when I will be at Langerado!

Click here for the sixth mix as a zip file.

Here's the playlist:

1 - Eels - Mr. E's Beautiful Blues
2 - The Fiery Furnaces - My Egyptian Grammar
3 - The Conchords - Foux Da Fafa
4 - Mark Ronson featuring Lily Allen - Oh My God
5 - "I'm not really a horse."
6 - "I am truly surprised."
7 - Eggstone - Good Morning
8 - Oren Lavie - Her Morning Elegance
9 - "Friday night. Always a good night for some Sabbath."
10 - Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
11 - Filter - Take A Picture
12 - Hooverphonic - 50 Watt
13 - Supreme Beings of Leisure - This World
14 - Erlend Øye - Every Party Has A Winner And A Loser
15 - "The chicken catastrophe and the eggs overwhelming."
16 - Fleetwood Mac - World Turning
17 - Revolvo - Too Cool For School
18 - Maserati - Synchronicity IV
19 - Herbie Hancock - I Thought It Was You

  • The album art has a picture of me with my new guitar. A group of very good friends, from all around the country, collaborated and conspired to get me a gift that I really wanted. I took home my new guitar yesterday and practiced until my fingers were sore. It's about time I learn an instrument.
  • Track #3 cracks me up to no end.
  • I read a really interesting interview with Mark Ronson, so I decided to seek out his music. Turns out it's really good.
  • Tracks # 5 & 6 are taken from an episode of Family Guy called "15 Seconds of Shame."
  • Track #8 is an Israeli singing in English.
  • Track #10 is on this mix because I read an article about Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel in Slate. Turns out he wrote this album after reading Anne Frank's diary. Now I have to listen to the whole album straight through a few times. This topic may find its way into a lesson plan of mine.
  • Track #11: I've had this 90s ditty kicking around the old noggin for a while. I even asked my resident 90s expert for the artist and title twice before it sunk in.
  • Tracks #12 & 13: Yes, Hooverphonic and Supreme Beings of Leisure are making music again.
  • Track #14: I was going to take it out because I already have so many tracks by Erlend Øye on my mixes. I was going to delete it from the playlist when I got home, but I kept on humming the tune for the song as I thought of deleting it. Feel free to delete it yourself.
  • Track #16: On the cab ride home from the Jet Set photo shoot, I the classic rock DJ introduced this song from the first Stevie Nicks/Lindsey Buckingham infused Fleetwood Mac album. The voice sounded like Carol Miller, a favorite DJ of mine from my youth. This track is awesome. Takes a while to build, but worth the patience.
  • Track #19 is taken from a live recording of Herbie Hancock in Tokyo in 1978. A friend at work gave me that concert (and a couple other very choice concerts). I listened to the recording about 4-5 times in one day. Although I selected this track, all the rest of the tracks were equally incredible.

Technical Notes:

I'm relieved to present the final installment of my birthday fest series. I can tell that it's time for me to put an end to this project. When I arrived home and turned on my computer, I almost started my FTP program before opening a browser. That's geek talk for, "I was ready for this project to be done already." I've been playing a shell game with my various drives and computers. First, I should introduce the various players in the mix making process:

  • The Heap: A desktop computer that doesn't have any office software, but does have the GIMP image editing program. I seem to have managed to uninstall Internet Explorer, which isn't all that easy to do, and produces lots of other side effects. The Heap is unable to locate it's optical drives: so I can't really install any new software if it comes on a disc, and I can't burn or rip CDs with it. I tried attaching an external burner, but it can't seem to figure those out either. It has no problem working with the scanner or the USB turntable.
  • The Blue Meanie: A five year old laptop that wheezes like a chain smoker whenever its on for more that 2.5 seconds. This computer has the mixmeister software, which I use to make the mixes. Mixmeister now has a number of other versions of the software, which I have tested, but call me old fashioned, I like version 5 (Pro). Anyhow, the computer's headphone jack is all facocked, so it doesn't take to external speakers too well. So when I have long periods of mixing to do, I plug in an external sound card, and jack the speakers into there. This computer has no problem using external CD/DVD drives, so long as they are not internal.

"my little blue book"
500 gigs. Nearly full. Primary music library.

"the backup drive"
500 gigs. Supposed to have the exact same data as my little blue book, but doesn't.
Doubles as the travel library.

2 gigs. It's also my mp3 player. As a flash drive, it's very slow.

"only one gig"
1 gig. (der!) Very speedy transfer rate, but limited storage capacity.

"old stick"
256 megabytes. Very small capacity, but sometimes the other drives are full or in use. Comes in handy from time to time.

So when I say I've been playing a shell game, I mean that sometimes information is on one drive and not another, and I'm not always sure what's where. So, for reasons I won't go into now, the sixth mix, will not be available as a wma file, and the songs will not be mixed. This may present some kind of problem since many of the songs build up slowly. Some of my fans/critics might welcome this change, since they don't like the way I impose samples on other tracks, or move the beginning or end of a track to make it mix better.

One last thing:
Thank you for listening!
For all my complaining above, I really enjoyed working on this project.
I hope you enjoy listening to the music.
Maybe, just maybe, these songs will accompany you in your own life.
Through the good times, and the bad.
When you're surrounded by loved ones, or when you're all alone.
Through your youth, and into your old age.

"The memories of a man in his old age
Are the deeds of a man in his prime."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Dear Israeli Brother

On this day, March Second, in 1988, I entered the Israeli army. Three years and one day later, on March 3, 1991, I was released. I've always celebrated my release date, and this year, I am celebrating it by releasing my third introspective mix of this series.

Click here to download Dear Israeli Brother as a zip file.
Click here to download Dear Israeli Brother as a wma file.

Here's the playlist:

1-Shalom Hanoch-Lielot Shketim (Mellow Nights)
2-Shem-Tov Levy-Lifamim Ba`Shaot Hameochrot (Sometimes Late At Night)
3-Sussita-Shir Shalva (Tranquil Song)
4-Tamuz-Holech Batel (Loafer)
5-Tuned Tone-Lokeach Hazman (Taking My Time)
6-Arik Einstein & Shalom Hanoch-Tafasti Rosh Tov Al Habar (Got F-ed Up At The Bar) (Live)
7-Danny Ben Israel- Hantareesh (Enough With The Hash)
8-Rami Fortis-HaMavet Eino Mechusar Avodah (Death Is Never Unemployed)
9-Ktzat Acheret-Guru
10-Girafot-Kasheh Li (It's Difficult For Me)
11-Tippex-Ksheanee Livad Anee Lo Ganuv (When I'm Alone I Am Not Cool)
12-Shmulik Krauss-Al Tasimu Lev Elai (Just Ignore Me)
13-Lord Filmnap-Lo Mevin Yoter (Don't Understand anymore)
14-Rockfour-HaIsh ShehRa'ah Et Hakol (The Man Who Saw It All)
15-HaBiluim-Ballada L'Em Chad Horit (Ballad of the Single Mother)
16-Apocalypse-Haiav U'Moto Shel Mar Guskin (The Life and Death of Mr. Goskin)

Friday, February 29, 2008

international jet-set playboy dj

This next mix exemplifies what happens when electronica collides with samba.

Click here to download international jet-set playboy dj as a zip file.
Click here to download international jet-set playboy dj as a wma file.

Here's the playlist:

1-Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66-Mais Que Nada
2-Guilherme Vergueiro-A Sangue Quente
3-Nicola Conte-The Dharma Bums
4-Sheshet- Samba BeRegel Smol (Left Foot Samba)
5-Astrud Gilberto-Tristeza (Goodbye Sadness)
6-Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66-One Note Samba/Spanish Flea
7-Nouvelle Vague-Ever Fallen In Love
8-Herb Alpert-A Taste of Honey
9-Marmalade Winter-Love's At Home
10-Quantic-Mishaps Happening
11-Cal Tjader-Shoshana
12-Renovation Unlimited/Roy Ayers-Antonata [TKN Re-Edit]
13-Scott Grooves-Organ Nights, Pt. 2
14-Aaron Bingle-The Sunshine Ease Your Love
15-Blanco-Cinnamon & Clove II
16-Continental-Thanks for Flying and Turn on Your Cellphones

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cashing In This Ten Cent Life For Another One

This next installment is another introspective mix. It describes how I'm feeling right now if I could only express myself through Steely Dan songs. I could also say that my whole life has been a Steely Dan song. Don't expect to find "Reeling In The Years" on this mix. Not only is the song far too cliché for a mix like this, but you can hear it by turning on your local classic rock station.

Click here for cashing in this ten cent life for another one as a zip file.
Click here for cashing in this ten cent life for another one as a wma file.

Here's the playlist:

1-Do It Again
2-Night by Night
3-The Caves of Altamira
4-Your Gold Teeth
5-I Got The News (demo version)
6-Bad Sneakers
7-Here At The Western World
8-Any World (That I'm Welcome To)
9-Midnight Cruiser
11-The Nightfly
12-Black Cow
13-Things I Miss the Most
14-Doctor Wu
15-Through With Buzz
16-Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More
17-What A Shame About Me (live)
18-Deacon Blues

  • The title of this mix is taken from Track 2.
  • The cover art is the bull from the famous cave painting in Altamira and is inspired by Track 3, which was inspired by the cave painting.
  • Track 11 isn't a Steely Dan song: it's a Donald Fagen solo song. Close enough. It's about a late night radio DJ, that's why it's there and that's why it's juxtaposed with Track 10.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


This next mix is dedicated to my good friend Admiral Chuck Rettig. Chuck has been a good friend of mine for the past 25 years, and I figured I honor him with a mix. The mix has nothing to do with Chuck per se, but I used a picture of us as the album art. Chuck's birthday is February 28, so, we've always celebrated our birthday together. The fest continues!

Click here for schooners as a zip file.
Click here for schooners as a wma file.

Here's the playlist:

1-Memphis-Incredibly Drunk On Whiskey
2-Prints-Blue Jay
3-Kompis & Erlend Oye-All Ears
4-Sondre Lerche-Airport Taxi Reception
5-Timo Räisänen-Sweet Marie
6-beat radio-what i love the most
7-Andrew Bird-Imitosis (Four Tet remix)
8-Laura Veirs-Cast a Hook in Me
9-Kathleen Edwards-Titled Untitled
10-Neko Case-Deep Red Bells
12-Kula Shaker-Dr. Kitt
13-Panda Riot-Like Flowers At Night
14-Panda Bear-Bros
15-Grizzly Bear-Little Brother
16-Minus The Bear-Throwin' Shapes
17-The Bees-The Russian
18-Guster-Ruby Falls


As usual, I have a bunch of scandahoovian artist on the mix, as well as some female vocalists. I also have a bunch of bears on this. Some of my friends got evaluation copies of this mix earlier this month. I had a little difficulty with the bear segment of the mix. I realized that the electric version of Little Brother by Grizzly Bear was a little too slow. So for as much as I liked it I had to swap it out for the original version. I had only recently gotten turned on to Minus the Bear, and wanted to have one of their tracks on the mix. There were a number of other songs either by Bear Bands or about bears that didn't make it in, but I feel I should mention them here in case the listener chooses to get more bears into their musical diet:
  • Wax Fang - Bipolar Bear
  • Bear Colony - Hospital Rooms Aren't For Lovers
  • Bear Hands - Bad Blood
  • The Bear Quartet - Carsick
  • Grumpy Bear - World Full of Nothing
  • Okkerville River - Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear
  • Page France - Mr. Violin and Dancing Bear
  • Kitty Hawk - Bear in the Morning
  • Duke Ellington - Jack the Bear
  • Elvis Presley - Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear
  • John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers - The Bear
  • Radiohead - Hunting Bears
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Honeybear
  • and a very bizarre mashup of The Knife and Grizzy Bear - Hearbeats vs. Knife
Check back tomorrow for another mix.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

young old man

In the past, I have only made one mix about myself. This week I will release three. Here's the first one: young old man.

The title was suggested by Rob "Tucker Tucker" Tucker during my recent visit to the Boston area. In an earlier version of this mix, I used Jenny Lewis' version of "Handle With Care."
But I've already used that track on an all covers mix called "under the covers with the mennu method."* Tucker agreed that I should use the original Traveling Wilburys version since those are "some groovy young old men."

Click here for young old man as a zip file.
Click here for young old man as a wma file.

Here's the playlist:

1-Groove Armada-Purple Haze
2-Rufus Wainwright-Instant Pleasure
3-They Might Be Giants-Dead
4-Nina Simone-Marriage Is For Old Folks
5-The Traveling Wilburys-Handle With Care
6-The Boy Least Likely To-Be Gentle with Me
7-Pete Townshend-Slit Skirts
8-DJ Shadow-building steam with a grain of salt
9-Billy Joel-Summer, Highland Falls
10-Belle & Sebastian-Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying
11-The Smiths-Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
12-Calexico/Nicolai Dunger & His Band-Alone Again Or
13-Of Montreal-Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
14-Sting-Shadows in the Rain
15-Pink Floyd-Free Four
16-Beach Boys-I Just Wasn't Made For These Times
17-Lonnie Smith-Peace of Mind

*You can still download "under the covers with the mennu method" as a zip or wma.

Six Mixes in Six Days...Starting Today

Today is my 40th birthday. I usually celebrate my birthday for 5 days: from February 27 through March 3. That's a five day fest, except during a leap year, then it's six days. And luckily, this is a leap year.

Why the long celebration?

February 27 is my actual birthday, so that begins the fest. March 3 is the day I was released from the IDF after three years and one day of service. So that's like a re-birth of sorts. It was as though after three years, the army came to me, holding my life in its hand and said, "Hey! How would you like to have this again?" Well, I was thrilled! I dusted it off and resumed where I had left off. The days between my birthday and my release from the army date are filled with friends birthdays. So the party goes on.

People keep asking me if I'm doing anything special for my birthday. I am. I'm having a musical potlatch of sorts. In one of my more ambitious projects to date, I'm going to release six mixes in six days. Three of them will relate to how I'm feeling right now, at this point in my life. One of them will be a refinement of a mix that I've been working on and have asked selected friends to preview and evaluate. One will be taken off the back burner and served as is. There's one which hasn't been made yet. That'll be fun.

I've also been doing a little technical quality assurance on the mixes. Hopefully there will be no gaps in between songs, and the songs will play in order in most mp3 players and/or computers. Mixes will be downloadable as zip files containing the individual mp3 files, or as a single wma file which will play on Windows PCs and certain devices. I've tried to ensure that the tags are proper and the artwork compliments the mix.

So enjoy! Try to keep up with the output, and keep the comments coming.