Friday, December 30, 2005
Call me a whore, if you will, pimping my wares all over the web like so many tarted-up, rosey-cheeked come-ons directed toward your ears, waving you down as your Firebird turns onto my street. We can role play that hooker scene from Full Metal Jacket, if that's your kink. But no, really, I just want to give you something, free of charge: send me an e-mail with your name (fake is fine), address and zip, and I will personally send you a list (audio style) of my favorite songs discovered in 2005. Sure, everyone else in the blogosphere is playing it old school, merely writing up their year-end faves. Me? I sit in your lap while you're driving and sing it lovingly into your ears. Figuratively speaking.
The fine print: Once you have received this free gift, your (real or fake) name and e-mail/home address will be thrown away and you will not be mailed anything by me ever again forever and ever, amen (for next year's list, we start at square one). I will not send you spam asking if you'd like firmer breasts or a larger penis (my assumption is that you are already endowed with both--feel free to prove me wrong). Delivery time can be anywhere between 5 days and 6 weeks, depending on where you reside. This offer is good until I damn well feel like rescinding it. Disco:Very loves you, and loves to "put out" for you. You may know the music on my list or you may not, but whatever you feel, at last you know you can listen to artists who are real. Disco:Very will not change its year-end list style to meet the whims of a frustrated world. You should appreciate this because you know Disco:Very is pure what more can you ask?
Thursday, December 29, 2005
www.discocolonvery.net. Also, I've slightly tweaked the site and, in additon, I have boldly removed my personal profile to establish a more dramatic yet hushed air of mystery. From now on, you will wonder from afar who I am and what makes me tick. You'll desperately want to be my friend, but I'll keep a wide emotional distance, allowing you into my vulnerable little heart only when I feel you are able to grasp the many complex layers of The Onion I Call My Soul. Also, the stink of my soul will make you cry, and it's delicious in soups.
Personally, I don't see what the big deal is. If state-sponsored censorship means an end to tepid classic rock and easy listening hits, fetch my passport, dawg, 'cuz I'm moving my cribs to Iran! Clearly, the head honcho of America's next refinery takeover is merely trying to ban his fellow citizens from listening to bad music. He isn't abolishing, say,
He's Your Man by The Oblivions, so what's the harm? If anything, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is probably just pissed that lame-ass folkie Cat Stevens is fighting for his side. Purchase Popular Favorites at Mordam Records.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
No matter where I am any time of the year, complete strangers constantly come up to me on the street and shreik, "Hey Peecat, what are your thoughts on holiday music?" By and large, I hate all of it, especially the traditional stuff, but especially the stuff by contemporary artists trying to write a new holiday classic, like when Brian Setzer (inbetween fetishistically jerking-off with his guitars), reconfigures a by-the-numbers rockabilly tune, replacing the word "baby" with "Santa". Or when he performs a trad-dad number and peppers it with pseudo Swingers lounge-speak. I'm here to tell you there are only three Xmas records worth owning: the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, the astonishingly-great A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector and Christmas Album by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. And in the case of the latter, the only track I ever play from it is
Las Mananitas, which has little to do with Chirstmas being that it's a traditional Mexican birthday song. Upon the rare chance I feel like hearing a modern take on a holiday tune, I pull out the third Red Red Meat album Bunny Gets Paid and cue up their version of There's Always Tomorrow (originally from the animated TV special Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer). As I've mentioned before, they have a bizarre way of somehow saddening any song they touch. If you don't become a weepy, pouting alcoholic after hearing this track, you must already be one.
Everyone knows that for surefire laughs, replacing "fucking" for the middle name of someone you hate is instant hilarity. George Fucking Bush, Donald Fucking Rumsfeld, Pope Fucking Nazi-Youth Jew-Hater Whatever His Name Is, etc. This helps explain why we should all hate Sting, Moby, Madonna, Cher and Beck: their one-name moniker prevents us from doing this (plus Beck if a fucking Scientologist, so we should hate him regardless of what name he goes by). And speaking of lousy religions, on this most holiest of holy days--the birth of Jesus Fucking Christ--it seems appropriate to post a track or two by The Knights Of The New Crusade, who hope to wash away your indie-rock sins with the beer-swilling, whoop-hollering guitar-punch attitude of garage punk.
Ain't No Monkeys In My Family Tree might just be one of the best anti-Evolutionary Theory punk songs ever written, while You Got To Move is as inspiring and uplifting as any fiery sermon preached by Billy Fucking Graham. You can buy My God Is Alive! Sorry About Yours! at Midheaven.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Yes, yes, it's all very special that Killing Joke influenced everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Nirvana by grafting incisive agresso-punk sloganeering onto high-energy tribal rhythms and liberating the indie rock legion towards a new world of movement and sound, bla bla bla. Who cares? I JUST WANT TO HEAR THOSE FUCKING DRUMS!
Tension-- taken from the newly-reissued (with bonus tracks) What's This For?--rocks my world but they get extra points for continuing to use that creepy clown figure on most of their album covers. Buy it at Amazon.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Yes, yes, it's all very special that Lesbians On Ecstasy are recontextualizing folkie feminist anthems by KD Lang, Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls, grafting them onto hi-NRG dance rhythms and liberating our Saphhic Sisters into an empowering Womyn's womb of movement and sound, bla bla bla. Who cares? I JUST WANT TO HEAR THOSE FUCKING GUITARS!
Parachute Clubbing rocks my (it's-a-man's) world but they get extra points for covering the (possibly non-lesbian, to the best of my knowledge) Fat Truckers (retitling their hit Super Bike into the more appropriate, and more hilarious, Superdyke). Fight the hetero-centric patriarchy at Alien 8 Records.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
The provacative sex-kitten schtick of Bow Wow Wow never much moved me. I altogether ignored the fad of
C-30 C-60 C-90 Go! when it first came out in the late 70's. Now that I'm finally hearing it anew on Grlz, I'm hanging my head in shame--why didn't anyone warn me how great it was?? Although this compilation is sorely missing other female-fronted acts such as The Au Pairs, The Flying Lizards and Liliput, this one track has made it worth owning. Buy it at Crippled Dick Hot Wax.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
As a wise old friend once put it, Mick Collins of The Dirtbombs is a national treasure. I begin with this statement because, this morning, I turned the TV on for some noise to jump-start me towards arriving to work on time (which didn't happen--I was 30 minutes late!) and who should be on The Today Show but Billy Fucking Joel. The image of him plinking through his usual cutie-pie Everyman routine, coupled with what I can only describe as that sound has forced me to cleanse my palette with something containing a little bit of fuck you-ness: hence,
Candy Ass, taken from the Australian-only EP Chariots Of The Gods? Buy it (or not) from Shock.com.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Just when you think a DJ couldn't possibly further the art of slicing and dicing a James Brown sample these days, along comes
Nova Danca (Melo Do James Brown), by Malha Funk, taken from the new non-stop-dripping-with-grooves Latin American club comp Coconut FM, compiled by German performer/prankster Señor Coconut. If that track is a little too old school for your ass, wrap your brain around the crazy cumbia of La Cebolla by Dick El Demasiado, whose backing arrangement seems to have been sampled from one of my recent acid flashbacks. I think I like their cover better than my original version. Get the party started and order this cd from Sterns Music.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Depression is a rarity for me (my life is pretty flippin' great). Probably a handful of sad movies (Nobody Knows, Tokyo Story, A Thousand Clouds Of Peace, Faces, You Can Count On Me, Before Night Falls, The Day I Became A Woman) and sad songs are the two motivators that get my eyes all misty-like. Some of the saddest songs ever written are by the no-longer-with-us Red Red Meat. How sad was this band, you might ask? So much so that they even sounded sad when they covered someone else's song (in this case, Polara's
Listening Now). Cheer up and buy this 7-inch split single (Polara covers Red Red Meat on the flip) from Perishable Records.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I'm all about breaking the law: J-walking, using the office photocopier for personal purposes, going 45 in a 35-speed-limit zone, and posting tracks found at NPR: grab this recording of The Magnetic Fields performing
live at Carnegie's Zankel Hall on November 18th, 2004 before The Man throws me in the slammer. I haven't been this excited about a musically-related crime since I saw Calvin Johnson in nothing but his boxers at the downtown YMCA last week (and me without a camera).
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Did anyone else see Patti Smith on Conan O'Brian last night? She and her band (shown above, minus Flea) performed an oddly slowed-down
Redondo Beach (sorry, I don't have an mp3 from that performance to offer you, only the studio recording from Horses). Much stranger than the tempo change, however, was seeing guitar guru Tom Verlaine hiding out on the left side of the screen, playing his trademark flight-of-fancy leads and fills almost completely out of the spotlight (all Robert Fripp style) and wearing various head gear (hat with mufflers, black scarf) to hide his identity (Greta Garbo called, she wants her affectation back). Why on earth Verlaine would feel the need to hide his visage from the Conan crowd has me mystified--has he suddenly leapt to the level of superstardom of Michael Jackson when I turned my back? You can buy the 30th anniversary edition of Horses from pretty much all the major vendors.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Damn you, Aquarius Records--you've gone and got me hooked on Black Metal. It's bad enough I find myself listening to the total-joke-band-even-if-they-claim-they-aren't-a-total-joke-band joke band Goblin Cock (
Stumped sounds more Queens Of The Stone Age than it does King Diamond), but to make matters worse, Innestengt I Eikekiste by Norwegian death rockers Khold has been rocking my iPod for two days non-stop. AQ calls them the Nirvana of Black Metal, whereas I see them more as The Beatles (if they sang catchy pop tunes after smoking a dozen boxes of unfiltered cigarettes), My Bloody Valentine (for the multi-channeled, layered guitars) and early REM for the nonsense lyrics I come up with when I try to sing along:
"In the state behind your sister
You wrote a letter, signed it 'Mister'
Sounds alike, you're a water
Mr. Merchant, forced your daughter
(Chorus) I'm mixing teabags
I pissed on Doo Rag
Some strap a He-Rag..."
Please be aware that I know you have some inclination as to the definition of a "He-Rag".
"In the state behind your sister
You wrote a letter, signed it 'Mister'
Sounds alike, you're a water
Mr. Merchant, forced your daughter
(Chorus) I'm mixing teabags
I pissed on Doo Rag
Some strap a He-Rag..."
Please be aware that I know you have some inclination as to the definition of a "He-Rag".
Consumption: Microbes made cuddly.
Film: Finally, a way for me to actually be entertained by Star Wars.
Web: A fascinating analysis of The Amen Break.
TV: Yet another in a long list of reasons to hate Lisa Loeb.
Ads: Former It-Boy Fatboy Slim makes a pathetic attempt to claw his way back into the spotlight, with the help of the musically-clueless Nordstrom (which figures) and Olivier Gondry (who should know better).
Technology: All I can say is, what took them so long?
Blogs: Don't. Mess. With. Lee Hartsfeld, the most knowledgeable music lover on the planet; The temporary technical difficulties of Out Of 5 appear to be over. No, wait--they're back again; Who the hell is Post-Punk Junk and where did he get such good taste? Every track is just begging to be downloaded.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Ohio's The Minni-Thins like pop, and they also like noise, two great tastes that taste great together. These two flavors intermingle magnificently on the many tracks available for download at their website, and if you back me into a wall, with the proverbial gun to my head, I'd have to say I hear a little bit of The Fall (in the way they grab hold of a riff and trottle its pretty little neck until it dies), a little bit of Pavement and/or any number of Drag City bands we all love/loathe, and, hell, maybe they even resemble a less annoying Weezer. A post-Thanksgiving feast is clouding my brain so these are the best comparisons I can come up with at the moment. Feel free to comment with your own. I'm going to lie down for a while.
To describe it, the image sounds perverse: a horse gently scooping a tiny fetus with its long-armed backhoe tentacle. If anything, that sentence reads like the Captain Beefheart album title that never was. But this is what can make music videos such a powerful medium--the poetry of the visuals coupled with the tone laid down by the music. You can understand why, after seeing the video for Heartbeats, the world-domination-obsessed evil Sony Corporation would want to use a Jose Gonzales track to sell its new glitzy television sets. Good for him--I hope Gonzales makes a million bucks off this thing. Update: the animated video for Heartbeats seems to have been scrubbed from the internet for good.
It's a glorious time to be Jeff Lynne: American TV commercials are still mining the bowels of the Electric Light Orchestra catalogue ("Livin' Thing" for JC Penny's, "Do Ya" for Monster.com, etc), numerous critic's-darling indie bands are covering his songs without a scrap of irony, and EMI has finally given a proper reissue to the last album recorded by The Move (psych-popsters will love the
title track of A Message From the Country, while It Wasn't My Idea To Dance should bode well with the current prog-rock movement). But most importantly, 2006 will mark the 40th anniversary of Mr. Lynne having had the same exact hairdo. What else is there to say, but "grroosss!"
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
The aural candy of
Saturday, November 19, 2005
When you're confronted with the hands-down punk genius of a band such as The Electric Eels, it's easy to scratch your head in bafflement as to why they weren't more popular. Could it have been because the group (all of them straight) used to passionately kiss onstage to piss off the rednecks in the audience? Was it because their lead singer was more of a lead snarler and purposely started violent fistfights with his fellow bandmates during every show? Perhaps the record-buying public was put off by the title of the 1988 compilation God Says Fuck You (top left). Personally, when I hear song titles such as
Agitated, Anxiety and You're Full Of Shit, the band instantly becomes bigger than Jesus in my book. Perhaps if they had been anthromorphized to make them more approachable, they would have enjoyed the adulation given to the Lamisil mascot Digger the Dermatophyte (top right). If marketers can make toe infections appear cartoonish, why not a pissed-off mid-70's punk group? Tap your (infected) toes to this top-notch piece of punk history at Amazon.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
George W. Bush is a complete and utter fuck-pig, a doddering nitwit who hasn't the sense to utter two words in proper succession let alone lead a nation into a trumped-up pointless war. The question on everyone's mind is: "How can we get rid of him?" My fellow Americans, as a sacrifice to this country, I volunteer to perform a wet slurpy blow job on President Bush while he's in the Oval Office in order that we can alert the press to his transgressions and begin proceedings to remove his tired ass from office. During the impeachment trial and the subsequent victory parties celebrating his departure from the White House, I will play
Oh Mother, The Handsome Man Tortures Me, taken from Choubi Choubi! Folk & Pop Sounds From Iraq, newly released by the fine folks at Sublime Frequencies. In these trying times, we all have to swallow our pride (or what have you) and step up to the plate to oust the axis of evil where it resides. I draw the line, however, at blowing Rove. Ick! I mean, c'mon, even my patriotism has limits.
Friday, November 11, 2005
About 15 years ago, while on a train in Hamburg, after an exhausting day spent record shopping at World Of Music (sort of the Tower Records of Germany, but so much better), an elderly woman sitting nearby began yelling things in German--a language I don't speak--and gesticulating violently towards me. This went on for the entire 20 minute ride but it wasn't until departing the train that my friend (a Hamburg native) explained what had happened: in my fatigued state, I had put my feet on the empty seat across from me, to which this woman took great offense. Not knowing the local language, I never responded to her harangue and continued brazenly stretching my legs out in front of her. Apparently, she was screaming to everyone within earshot about my rudeness and lack of manners, and all the while I just sat there, unknowingly taunting her sense of public decency. Of course, I was well aware of her hissy fit as it occurred, but assumed she was a nutjob, ignorant to the fact that she was merely acting as some sort of law-enforcing knight, keeping the social fabric of Deutschland sewn smoothly. Yes, those were good times, and I think of that warm and cuddly event whenever I hear
Die Qualität des Staates by Felix Kubin. It's the perfect soundtrack to accompany images of a large-boned matriarch chasing after a lazy Yankee with loose behavioral morals. What I love about Kubin is that, like the self-appointed correctional officer on my train, he seems to scream everything coming out of his mouth, Donald Trump-style: all overpowering volume, lacking subtlety and dynamics, which I find so charming when placed on top of Teutonic angular electroclash. Someday, I'm going to turn my little stretched-leg train encounter into a Broadway musical, and Kubin is just the man who will be able to translate that Hallmark moment into a theatre event for the ages. You can buy The Tetchy Teenage Tapes of Felix Kubin 1981-85 at Forced Exposure.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
As the weird outsider folk fad creeps along, it leads to more early oddball outsider music from around the world being discovered on a monthly basis. 1970's psych-Swede freak show Pugh Rogefeldt probably has a leg up on this trend, mostly because he sings in Swedish, but also because he was doing it over 30 years ago. I only mention the timeframe because everyone is seemingly drooling over the latest Devendra Banhard as if he were the first elfin acid casualty to crawl out of the rustic forest peat with a guitar strapped to his back. Compare Rogefeldt's
Stinsen I Bro (Del I & II) to Banhard's Chinese Children and tell me the tiny (Tim) acorn didn't fall very far from the tree. You can purchase Pughish (top left) from Aquarius Records, and you can easily purchase Cripple Crow (bottom left) just about anywhere else.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
One night, I dreamed I was walking along the beach with Pop Music. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, and I was forced to hear somewhat boring, critically-praised, safe pop music that wasn't all that interesting such as Death Cab For Cutie instead of pop music that made me want to shreik and dance and sing and punch my fist in the air and play air drums and fuck and fight and kick people in the head. So I said to Pop Music, “You promised me, Pop Music, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always and provide me with fun youthful pop such as The Chalets and Cansei De Ser Sexy. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life, when I was forced to put up with the pretentious swill of Modest Mouse, there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me, and instead foisted dull cutie-wootie artists such as Bright Eyes on me?” Pop Music replied, “The times when I provided downloads of catchy ditties such as
Red High Heels and Hollywood (Electro Grunge Shit Version), the times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand, is when I carried you.” (Buy the new cd by The Chalets from Amazon.co.uk, and buy Cansei De Ser Sexy from iTunes Music Store.)
Sunday, October 30, 2005
A Halloween hangover from last night's festivities has slightly damaged my mental facilities, so rather than fill out all the details of bizarro 1960's British guitarist/songwriter Big Boy Pete (known to his parents as Pete Miller), who has been writing and recording music for decades, I'd rather you just click here for his complete history (I think of the All-Music Guide as the Scrubbing Bubbles of music blogging: they work hard so I don't have to). The best part of performing archaelogical digs in the psychedelic era are the ridiculous lyrics, and there isn't a song on Homage To Catatonia that disappoints in this regard. Wrap your mind around such logic twisters as, "You candy-coated crimson flea/I know you spiked my cup of tea/You shot my bakelite toothbrush dead/And buried him inside my head..." (from
Knit Me A Kiss), but what makes Big Boy Pete so much more interesting than most consciousness-expanding pop from the sixties is that his songs are so damn catchy. If you're not bobbing your head along to Captain Of My Toy Balloon or The Procession, perhaps it's time to turn in your Rock Lover Membership Card for a full refund. Open your doors of perception by purchasing this cd at Dionysus Records.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Because I must hit the pillow early each night in a somewhat fruitless attempt to arrive on time to work each morning, I tend to miss a lot of late night talk shows. The upside: I'm not forced to endure Jay Leno. The downside: I miss those rare opportunities to see a few of my current musical heros kicking out the jams (Mmmm...jam). Thanks to the web, this no longer has to be the case. A tip of the mouse to my savior Big Stereo who has posted both a Quicktime video and an audio mp3 of Antony & The Johnsons performing You Are My Sister on The David Letterman Show (and don't call Antony goth or I'll make you eat my clove cigarette). In the interest of Karma (which I don't even believe in), allow me to pay it forward: No sooner had I given you what I believed to be a live recording of "Huddle Formation" by The Go! Team performing live at the 2005 South By Southwest Festival in Austin, TX (which I'd found at NPR) when I discovered that this track was, in fact, not live but a remixed studio recording already offered on a number of the band's various singles and the recent US-only edition of their debut cd. For shame, NPR, for shame. You've made me into a fool in the eyes of the world. As a way of begging your forgiveness, dear readers, here is the truly live recording of the 'Team performing
Huddle Formation on ABC-TV's The Jimmy Kimmel Show last Friday, October 21st. If you'd also like to see the streaming video of the performance, click here, but be warned: it's surrounded by an onslaught of beer ads and hemmed in by live clips on all sides from the likes of Shinedown, 3 Doors Down and other bands taking alt-rock liberties with the word down. If this is an indication of Kimmel's taste in music, can I ask why, exactly, Sarah Silverman is sleeping with him?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Bob Dylan revisited is so two weeks ago: now I'm on a Carter Family kick, thanks to the PBS series The American Experience, which aired a documentary last night on the music group who is undoubtably the cornerstone of country music. Per usual with historical programs examining anything pre-mass media, there wasn't a lot of film footage to illustrate the proceedings, so we had to endure the standard goofy reenactments showing rehearsals and performances. And can anyone tell me why a documentary purporting to show the long-reaching impact of this iconic American musical group would barely mention one of their best known songs (
Monday, October 24, 2005
My...um...many readers will balk, and I've avoided bringing it up earlier so as not to exacerbate the quiet calm of the comments box, but here goes: my personal belief is that once a band splits up, it should stay split up. Nothing frustrates me more than when a band who has concluded its run decides to dig up the corpse of their legacy and drag it onto the stage once more. The reason I'm stirring up this volatile turd: my high school heroes Gang Of Four, after thoroughly pissing me off when reforming for a short tour earlier this year, have just issued a CD of their classic cuts recorded anew. Judging by the sound of things across Music Blog Land, I seem to be the only one crying foul, the only one who finds these reunions disappointing. They never capture the energy and excitement of the band's first incarnation so why would any band wander into such numbing territory? Money, that's why. In this case, the Gang are claiming this fresh take on their back catalog is to at last receive income on these songs (whose performance royalties go to the various labels which released them). Is this a strong enough rationale to sully those perfect recordings we all love so well? Download this 53-minute, live-in-the-studio performance at KCRW's
Morning Becomes Eclectic and decide for yourself. Side note: Be sure to do a Google image search of the words "gang of four" sometime. You'll get all the usual pics of our post-punk and communist heros, but you'll also draw up tons of snapshots showing dorky personal posings of four random people and things: boring secretaries in oversized sweaters, gringo golf buddies posing before teeing off, bird embryos...
Kensington Books), has just hit book shelves across the country. If you're in the Los Angeles area (I'm looking at you Eddie, Pat and Scott), make sure and drop by Book Soup (8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 818.659.3684) on Tuesday, November 1st at 7pm to buy your own autographed copy and hear Mr. Soehnlein read. He's a wonderful writer whose stories are filled with shockingly perceptive passages about life, death and love. If you wish to buy the novel before the reading, the usual on-line outlets have it, as do the individual bookstores where he'll be reading. Be sure to check out his snazzy website for more book tour information.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
WHAT DID YOU SAY?? HUH??? I DIDN'T HEAR WHAT YOU SAID!!! Sorry to be SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS, but it's the natural reaction to having what's left of my hearing being taken away by The Go! Team performance I caught in Phoenix, AZ last night. My guess was that, on stage, the Jackson 5/cheerleading thing would move to the fore but I was wrong--instead, that vague Sonic Youth skrawl jam that is briefly referenced on their records was FULL-ON BLARING AT MY EARS AT TOP VOLUME ON ALMOST EVERY OTHER SONG!!! Even after enduring 15 years of playing in loud bands, blasting my stereo to its threshold and abusing the volume control on the ol' iPod, how was I to know I had even more hearing left to lose? Thanks to last night's show, a supersonic jet engine has taken up permanent residence inside my eardrums (it's almost 24 hours since their show and my head is still incessantly ringing, ringing, ringing). As for their performance, my one quibble is that lead gal Ninja should drop the audience pandering. We've already paid, we're already fans: no need to keep encouraging us to dance and shout out the choruses. The more you continue this route, you're just shy of becoming Huey Lewis And The News singing "Heart Of Rock and Roll". Otherwise, a dynamic, high-energy set (as this live recording of
Huddle Formation taken from NPR can illustrate).
Most of you who don't harbor an aversion to all things David Byrne (you know who you are) may remember Japanese pop star Shoukichi Kina from the Luaka Bop compilation Asia Classics 2: Peppermint Tea House released in 1994. Or you might already know the song Haisai Ojisan from the one-off strange bedfellows collaboration of the French/Frith/Kaiser/Thompson CD Live, Love, Laff & Loaf which came out in 1996 (whoever borrowed my copy and never returned it, please give it back, no questions asked). Either way, you need to hear more of this music. Musicians in Okinawa spawned a unique rock/folk hybrid as a reaction to the US occupation of their islands during the Vietnam war, creating a raw, forceful fusing which sounded like nothing else before or since. Recorded live in 1977 (save for an extra studio track at the end), the performances on The Music Power From Okinawa range from measured urgency to full-out frantic freak-out, Japanese style (proof:
Tokyo Sanbika). I'm no musical ethnologist, so I'm not sure if the sanshin being played is electric or fitted with pickups, but the sound overall is great. I bought my copy of this CD used at Amazon, so you should, too.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Nowhere in these two songs will you find the typical mode of attack usually employed by the Flat Duo Jets, but that's precisely what draws me to them. While the rest of the band's repertoire sought out all that was wild, boozy and untamed,
Apple Blossom Time and Ask Me How I Live (both of which close 1991's Go Go Harlem Baby) took the road less travelled to traditional Southern entertainment, and it helps illustrate that they weren't as one-dimensional in their sound as their live shows would suggest. Sadly, this album is currently out of print: I suggest you mosey on over to Amazon for a used copy. Don't bother to write Rhino Records to reissue it. At best, they'll ignore you. At worst, they'll...well, my lawyers have advised me not to talk about it until the court case is over.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Besides pining for amorous adventures, The Spinto Band must spend a lot of time watching TV. Not in a who-gives-a-shit-about-the-outside-world, wasted pop-culture malaise, but more in a romantic sense, as if the fictional characters on The O.C. are going to jump out of the idiot box and deliver these guys from their empty, loveless lives. Several songs on Nice And Nicely Done (such as
Late) casually mention hurrying home to catch a favorite boob tube program, and while the obvious musical references for this band might begin with mid-90's indie rawk (Sonic Youth, Pavement, etc), the more overt influence might just be TV Land. You can buy all things Spinto at Amazon.
Like the rest of the pop music world, I'm a little under the spell, at the moment, of early Bob Dylan. He was not an artist whose music I grew up hearing much (except for the hits played on FM radio between the usual tracks by Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers), so its as if I'm (re)discovering an old artist for the first time. On some level, I'm much more excited to hear interviews with Dylan than actually listen to some of his songs. It's fascinating to hear just how much the relatively new field of music journalism was struggling to keep up with the places to which his mind (and his music) was already racing. The lavishly illustrated new book, The Bob Dylan Scrapbook, 1956-1966 contains a large amount of insights we all witnessed in Martin Scorsese's No Way Home: Bob Dylan, but the audio disc enclosed within its pages contains a number of fascinating interviews that weren't included in the documentary. Sadly, none of them match the hilarious histrionics of the infamous 1967 press conference with Ralph Gleason (fragments of which were shown in Scorsese's film). So, this interview with
Martin Bronstein for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, (held on February 20, 1966) will have to do. It may lack his obtuse wordplay but still shows how journalists were hanging on his every word, back when he was blowing people's minds with every album he released. You can buy this unsparing, overwhelming tome at Dylan's personal website.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Art: The dazzling graffitti stylings of Bansky are rude, shocking, whimsical and hilarious--exactly everything street art should be.
Books: There isn't a more comprehensive listing of gay/lesbian/transgender videos & movies than The Bent Lens. It can be poured through for months and you will have only barely skimmed the surface.
Film: The (finally) forthcoming DVD release of Killer Of Sheep makes a great Xmas gift. (Do I have to draw you a diagram?)
Blogs: The delightful technology blog We Make Money Not Art seeks out the most rewarding and curious inventions and art projects around the world. In the past couple of months alone, it has written up this Japanese door (to see it in action, check out this video) and a performance artist who combats cell phone abuse.
TV: Phew! So I'm not the only one who fucking despises Everybody Loves Raymond. I propose a total ban on the Emasculated Husband sitcom plotline.
Design: The witty designers of Suck.Uk must be music obsessives like the rest of us. Witness their CD shelf (which illuminates the cover spine), and CD dividers.
Consumption: Does anyone know where I can buy the cd reissue of The Return Of The Giant Slits (CBS 85269) which has, as an extra track, the rare 7" American Radio Interview (b/w "Face Dub")?
Music: All hail Stolen Recordings which, besides having the best rock graphics ever, has sloppy poppy music by the likes of Silk Hot Pockets, Wet Dog, Salt, Manic Cough and Snow White, who have a wonderful potential chart-topper called "I Really, Really Fucking Hate Led Zeppelin".
Marketplace: My current worth as of today: $321.59.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
If it sounds like sour grapes, it's not: I really was planning on posting some Volcano Suns this month but 'Buked and Scorned beat me to it, damnit all to hell. No matter--the web is big enough for two blogs to drool some praise over this sadly forgotten Boston outfit. Most lovers of this post-Mission Of Burma band savor the first album (The Bright Orange Years), but I seem to be the only fan who leans more towards the follow-up, All-Night Lotus Party, perhaps because it mixed the thoughtful (
Room With A View and Sounds Like Bucks) with the thumping ( Dot On The Map and Bonus Hidden Mystery Track). This is yet another in a long line of albums that, sadly, will probably never see a reissue on cd. If only I owned the Sony Corporation! Gemm has quite a few vinyl copies, if you're interested. Boy Is My Face Red Update: The good decent people at Merge Records have seen fit to reissue this album with extra tracks.
Sudden Ensemble last year. Hailing from Anaheim, CA (home of the evil ABC/Disney/Mickey Mouse World Dominition HQ), The Willowz (above, left) have released Talk In Circles (on Sympathy For The Record Industry, top left) mixing primitive garage fuzz with scruffy screaming scrawl (need proof? try
Unveil), which the musically-clueless Rolling Stone magazine compared to the ilk of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys--huh??? Meanwhile, Demon's Claws, Memphis-by-way-of-Montreal blues rawk takes the legacy of bands such as The Oblivions, The Gun Club and other booze-addled fuck-ups and pushes the envelope to its logical conclusion--in short, they're anything but Laid Back. (Buy it at Dead Canary Records.) Finally, we end with The Casual Dots, alum of such indie punk royalty as Slant 6, The Frumpies and the mighty mighty Bikini Kill. The 'Dots self-titled debut is all upbeat energy and high-spirited sloppiness, which is all well and good, but how can you not like a song called Mama's Gonna Make Us A Cake? (Purchase it at Kill Rock Stars.)
Saturday, October 01, 2005
The world of adults, as seen through the mind of a child, can be abnormal, unfamiliar and just plain wacked out. If you're in need of a soundtrack to this kindergarten horror show we call Life, it's best to leave it to 1960's outsider artist Bruce Haack (and his sometimes dance/movement assistant Miss Nelson), whose slightly askew compositions about robots, spiders, motorcycle rides, rubber bands and poppies, help to explain the world as the beautiful, shocking and bizarre place it is. The very thought that little tykes might have been exposed to such tunes as
African Lullaby, Saint Basil, First Lady, Mara's Moon, and Goodbye (all taken from Electronic Record For Children, top left) makes my heart levitate all the way up to my eyeballs. Seek out Haack's expensive Japanese-only releases wherever you can find them (Amoeba Records almost always has them in stock), after which you may want to indulge yourself with the Haack tribute album Dimension Mix, (normally I encourage readers to shy away from tribute discs, but this one raises funds for Autism research), featuring such luminaries as Beck, Eels, Apples In Stereo and Fantastic Plastic Machine, whose I'm Bruce removes all the surreal qualities of a Bruce Haack song and reduces it to a wink-wink pop diversion.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Someday, a wise, enterprising label will reissue the-way-too-long out-of-print Fourth Wall by dada-ist pop funksters The Flying Lizards, and there will be much gnashing of teeth and wailing of overjoyed record collectors. Much more challenging and multi-layered than their self-titled 1979 debut LP (whose hit, Money, automatically appears on every "New Wave Of The '80's!" -type compilation you'd care to name), Fourth Wall was the album that dared to take their sound to another level, away from the tight-trouser dance rhythms that were then (and now) in vogue. Some of the shadings and textures of this record are more dense, atmospheric and ghostly, almost as if the band were attempting to record the very sound of death. Hell, they even got reclusive guitar maven Robert Fripp to play on this track,
Glide/Spin. How cool is that? (Perhaps it was their way of apologizing for ripping off his Frippertronics technique on An Age). Until this fantastic album is reissued, I command every one of you to write Rhino Handmade and demand that they stop releasing forgotten Melanie albums and correct this gross oversight right now.