I got my freak on for my birthday this year, Brooklyn-style, in a run-down warehouse studio with my music-man, two cuzzins, one roach, whiskey, earplugs and a psychedelic-new-wave-funk-punk jam that had me bashing drums and dancing until my feet bled. Sing!

Make music, not war

Make music, not war

Don’t get me started on the Klezmer band that formed at our last bash, or the dripping dance marathons that engrave our oak floors, or those starry nights with my in-house composer and an upright bass.

Floor scratchFloor scratch

I don’t play well, but brothers and sisters, I love music, I live to sing and dance and I’ll bet my legendary LP collection, you feel the same. Here are five tracks burning up my playlist this week. Let me know what ignites you…

Q.U.E.E.N. / Janelle Monae, featuring Erykah Badu

Will you sleep or will you preach?

This is what the high-priestess and most awesome android of the 21st century asks, nay dares at the end of this riveting audio-visual funk-off to the plasticized stupor of manufacturing consent that is much of pop music today. I know my answer. Janelle Monae wakes me out of the coma of the corporation, and with the help of the ever-righteous Queen Erykah Badu, makes me feel the heat of mortality and the tenor of my soul. While you’re selling dope, we’re gonna keep selling hope. Sing!

WHOLE LOTTA HELTER SKELTER/Led Zeppelin and the Beatles

After a two-ton meal with friends on a cold winter night, my in-house DJ kicked our sloth, threw Soundhog’s monumental mash-up on our wifi boom-box and blew the frigging roof off the house. As groaning bodies hit the floor in time, two of the greatest bands ever stormed back from the dead to play together, the snow fell through our living room and the stars above aligned.

ICKY THUMP/The White Stripes

Jack White boils my blood. I first saw him and Meg on SNL and couldn’t believe only two people could make such sublime noise. It shot directly into my veins and I haven’t been the same since ‘cause that’s what the arts aim to do. Icky Thump is the title track of the Stripes, sob, last album, and its animal wail and pounding beat perfectly capture the kind of heart attack that can save your life.

DO IT WITH A ROCKSTAR/Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

Amanda Fucking Palmer is rock royalty. Her video-film Do it with a Rockstar from her latest album Theatre is Evil is a master-class of the genre and reminds us that hardcore music lays us bare to the pleasure and pain of our inner beast. Speaking of class, Amanda gives one of the most inspired and uplifting TED talks I have ever seen- on how to make a living as an artist, called, The Art of Asking. Rock it, and offer your hand.

Warning: NSFW (Not safe for work)

KISS/Prince & the Revolution

My love will be your food.

Prince Rogers Nelson is the Dictator of Funk, the merciless Despot of Soul and the Lion King of Dirty Talk. He has worldwide domination of the bedroom through the dance floor. If you want to get your freak on, Prince will take you by the hand. He may make you beg for it, but he will never let you down. I’ll never forget the first time I heard his classic Kiss. I’ll leave what happened to your imagination. My lips are sealed.


Show some love to Montreal’s online arts & culture rag, The Rover, who asked me to write this post.

For more Burns the Fire on music: Feel the Love and Music is Healing.



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