Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pound For Pound For Pound

My black little heart does flips when Kelly Stoltz taps his inner "Chopsticks". That primitive piano pounding! pounding! pounding! is the primal pulse that courses through all our veins. Sure, anyone can slap those keys into submission the way he does in Prank Calls and Wave Goodbye but isn't that the point? His forays into blues pop (Birdies Singing) are compelling, as are his sad and weeply ballads (Words) but bottom line: I'm waiting for the man to return to those I'm Waiting For The Man rhythms that makes my blood vessels perform cartwheels.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Drum's Not Dead

The pop marketplace is a harsh mistress. Trying to sell Showtunes, Stephin Merritt's fey Chinese opera sountrack, to even the most ardent fan of The Magnetic Fields is going to be difficult. This rewarding but challenging work concerns a complex storyline taking place during the Ming Dynasty, thereby automatically overloading it with pretext (and pretense). It isn't likely to heat up the Billboard charts on the strengths of Little Maiden Of The Sea or And He Would Say... alone and is probably in need of a lot of controversy to shift units. I recommend a well-placed quote from Merritt proclaiming The Flower Drum Song as the best musical in American theatre, followed by frequent live renditions of "I Enjoy Being A Girl".

Monday, May 29, 2006

Get Your Freak (Flag) On

Good grief, is this fucking Folk Freak coup ever going to fizzle out? C'mon, we all found a lot of 90's IDM excessively stark and sterile, but that doesn't mean you should rebel by channeling crystals and spelling "wilderness" with a capital W. You know the trend has become twisted when even Matador chases bands such as Brightblack Morning Light. No doubt, they're going to hit it big with the Whitey-Ashamed-Of-Not-Being-Ethnic crowd. Tracks such as Everybody Daylight contain all the trappings of a Bonnaroo bonanza: the freeform flutes, the connection to freak queen Devendra Banhart, the Earth First! leanings, etc. Jeez, guys, we all embrace Eco-Terrorism but that doesn't mean it sounds good set to music. Maybe they'll take some lessons from Vetiver, the SF ensemble, also linked to Banhart, but who don't seem to be lysergically damaged. If anything, judging from Idle Ties and You May Be Blue (off their newbie To Find Me Gone), they have more of a latter-day Wilco-esque pop vibe going on, which will make existence a bit more uplifting when we're all forced to live off the land after the impending global warming catastrophe. That worthless flute can be used as a straw to suck water off the melting polar ice caps.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Bootie Duty

Will you continue to be my cyber-homie if I let you in on a shameful little secret? I still find myself getting excited about Mash-Ups. Yes, yes, how very 2001 of me. Pardon my blooper, but after a long day at work, I just want to kick back, loosen my boxer briefs, relax with a plate of microwaved Twinkies and enjoy me some bastard pop. You can understand, then, why The Best Of Bootie 2005 has got my heart all a-flutter. True, it's no As Heard On Radio Soulwax, Part 2--some of the tracks don't quite have the juice, such as Hot Rich Girls Dropped In A Grange (Gwen Stefani vs. Snoop Dogg vs. ZZ Top), while others seem to have relied solely on a lucky break (I could have mashed It Takes Two To Kiss (Rob Base vs. Prince) in my sleep.) The tracks that work, however, have a joie de vie that makes you slap your forehead in amazement (why nobody ever thought to make Gary Numan's "Cars" go "Boom" before is difficult to fathom.) Your only duty should be to download the entire album here, artwork and all.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's Got A Good Beat, and You Can Dance To It (While Receiving Coded Messages to Assassinate Your Enemies)

Has anyone ever remixed a recording from The Conet Project as a dance track? If the answer is no, what the hell is the holdup? Is it due to the cost of owning the entire 4-CD boxed set? Well, these sites are just giving it away, so we've just knocked down that excuse. Wouldn't the cute 'n' cuddly achtung baby hissing those emphatic Germanic orders on The Swedish Rhapsody sound cool behind a thumpin' groove? It would be chillin' and chilling at the same time. Until some formerly-hot DJ gets off his ass and makes it happen--I'm looking at you, John "Jellybean" Benitez--the closest we're going to get is probably Punk Anderson's mid-90's club staple People, which retains most of the Teutonic goose-step but leaves out Conet's creepy Cold War ghostly vibe.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Freshly Stumped

I can name, on one hand, all the bands signed to Minty Fresh that I've ever liked. Specifically, one hand turned-bloody-stump after severing all my fingers in a ghastly blade saw accident. How surprising, then, that my latest obsession--French dance/punk New Wavers Prototypes (not to be confused with British dance/rock New Romantics The Prototypes)--have signed on Minty's dotted line. While their groove thang has been selling itself worldwide for many a moon, they'll only begin receiving U.S. exposure when their forthcoming self-titled album is released June 6th. Until then, you should thank me--nay, praise me!--for giving you an early leg-up with Danse sur la Merde, Gentleman, Exister and Autonomie. If you can't wait two more precious weeks for the rest of their life-altering output, take your mouse for a walk over to their official website. Or skip ye, oh merrily to Amazon (USA division), Amazon (UK division), Amazon (French division), Amazon (Canadian division), Amazon (German division), Amazon (Japanese division), Amazon (Antartica division), Amazon (Martian division), Amazon (People Who Have Trouble Living In This Galaxy division) and Amazon (Porcelin Pussy division).

Make A Run For The Border

Normally, I am not an advocate for nostalgia. Normally, I'm all like, "[dial tone][beep beep beep, beep beep beep beep][ring, ring, ring] Hello, Nostalgia Police? I've got an emergency situation I'd like to report. A seminal band, only recently discovered by the pop intelligentsia 30 years after they split the scene, has decided to cash in on their newfound popularity, and I'm fearing the worst: I believe they're planning a reunion concert! How fast can you get here??" But, and I've got a big but, this is Os Mutantes we're talking about. Yeah, brotha: Os Fucking Mutantes. They've decided to hit the spotlight again (without original member Rita Lee) and if you're one of the luckies who has been able to see them play, well bully for you, you smug little shit. Who did you have to sleep with to get those tickets? The rest of us will have to make do with Baby Borderline providing a download (sadly, WMA only) of Rosetta Stone proportions, capturing a show from May 22nd held at the Barbicanin in London. The Baby (as I like to call it) also provides a link for a free download of The Avalanche, the forthcoming outtakes cd by the now-backlash-bound Sufjan Stevens (via Polaroid Rainbow, but you didn't hear that from me.) Get both of them now before someone confiscates the goods.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Come For The Peanut Butter, Stay For The Wank

Long before Chris Manak became Peanut Butter Wolf, he and a childhood sidekick did what most pals battling carbonated hormones would do in the years before passing a driving test: they made dozens of fuck-around tapes of themselves wanking and jerking their way through snotty originals (Gotta Get Rid Of Rick, Night In Jail) and an odd assembly of covers (Walked In Line by Joy Division, Walking On Sunshine by Katrina & the Waves.) At The Mall, which compiles a meager handful of the hundreds of tunes languishing in the vaults (read: weathered shoeboxes), could be considered the The Basement Tapes of pimple punk. I hereby nominate Baron Zen to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They're the most rambunctious musical duo since Chad fired Jeremy.

Children Are The Single Most Precious Resource We Have. As Much As A Heaping Handful of Illegal Black Beauties. Oops! Did I Type That Out Loud?

I know who you are. You're a parent and you want to teach your kids about drugs. Sit them down (chained), load up Psych Out! (which came free with the April 2006 issue of Mojo Magazine, top left) and force the little hellions to listen to Blow Up by The In Crowd. Tell them, "This is how you'll sound on good drugs (i.e., uppers)". Later, nail their feet to the ground and play Revolution (Top Gear Radio Session) written and performed by the very same band after they took bad drugs (i.e., hippy psychedelics) and changed their name to Tomorrow. Explain to your children, "Bad drugs twist your brain into writing songs with an overabundance of time signatures while convincing you that the image of your band is best served by adopting a new spacey moniker referencing the infinite". The closer is the clincher: Barclay James Harvest's Pools Of Blue, a soft heartfelt ballad that should keep them off downers well into teenhood. If all that fails to scare them, show this picture of what Barclay James Harvest looks like now (top right). That oughta do it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Normal See, Normal Do

More than anything, I wanted to see myself liking and actively listening to the debut album Boo Hoo Hoo Boo from They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, the aural 3-ring circus on Kill Rock Stars. Sadly, they only bring to mind those dark days in the early 80's when the world was under the sway of Oingo Boingo, and the "Why Be Normal?" button was the name tag of a generation. If Big Dot or Hiccup is your cup of double-espresso latte, by all means, plant yourself in front of this CD. As for me, my time would be better spent strangling the young man who sullied my plane ride to Austin last month when he watched his Hell Freezes Over DVD during the entire 2 hour flight. Shall I make room for you on his neck? I'll provide the rope.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Donkey Begets Honkey

Let me get this straight: Two long-haired crusties win The Amazing Race, the grand prize for the American Inventor goes to a Polish immigrant, a honkey who hopes to turn Negroid someday is the favored American Idol, and to top it all off, Legacy Recordings corrals a 2-disc multi-label restrospective of roots rebel T-Bone Burnett...? Did I fall asleep for two years and the Democrats wrestled their way into power again? Putting the Donkeys back in the White House would make me smile, but I'm much more gleeful about Twenty-Twenty: The Essential T-Bone Burnett which not only highlights some criminally out-of-print recordings (Trap Door, Shut It Tight) but also points out some of his best songs as well (Power Of Love, Driving Wheel ). But who the hell gave this tall Texan Jesus Freak permission to remix certain tracks off Proof Through The Night? Is he trying to tell us the original versions of Fatally Beautiful and Hefner And Disney are somehow inferior? Unless America has altogether given up on checks and balances, I want an investigation launched.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Lost: One Horizon, Reward Offered For Safe Return To Owner

In the end, the world will forgive Tom Hanks for foolishly jumping into bed with the universally panned The Da Vinci Code, the same way we all once absolved Burt Bacharach for scoring the 1973 musical train wreck of Lost Horizon. I'm a big enough fan of The Burt that I can allow him the soppy spectacles of Reflections, Question Me An Answer, Things I Will Not Miss and the almost unbearably hippy-dippy World Is A Circle. Sitting through the entire film (still unavailable on DVD) is another matter entirely. But I'm more inclined to take on this Herculean task than watch any Ron Howard film you'd care to mention. But please, please don't mention any of them. I just had lunch, thank you.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Brian Joseph Massacre

Two qualities which make "micro-sampling" (or whatever it's being called this week) so much fun is, 1) hearing how similar it all sounds to the banned 'n' burned records of Brian Joseph Davis, and 2) figuring out from where the sampled source was taken. In the case of the staccato hiccup of Rikki (on Mylo's worldwide mega-hit Destroy Rock & Roll), it was pieced together from Living It Up, off the transcendent/depressing Rickie Lee Jones 1982 long-player Pirates. It is my pleasure to solve these sonic puzzles out so that you may sleep more soundly at night. You're welcome.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Torn Between Three Lovers

In much the same way Ginger used to worriedly pick between Gilligan or Skipper each night, I used to ponder, when riding an elevator stuffed with strangers, which of my co-inhabitants in the tiny box I would relent to have sexual relations with if the lift were to get stuck between floors with a flat tire in the middle of the ocean. It was the song Aerosmith forgot to write. Nowadays, as a semi-quasi-grown-up adult, I instead debate which track on Forgotten Lovers by Gary Wilson would be worth a naked snuggle or two: Rhythm In Your Eyes? Or perhaps Chrome Lover? Or maybe an indescretion with You Took Me On A Walk Into My Mirror? Mr. Wilson, is that a mixed metaphor in your lyrics or are you just happy to see me?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Dumbhead by The Shermans (buy)

Walk Through Walls by Half Japanese (buy)

Malibu Barbie by Al Perry & The Cattle (buy)

Dear Betty Baby by Mayo Thompson (buy)

Blood Done Signed My Name by Radio Four (buy)

The Hunt by Squeeze (buy)

Corona by The Minutemen (buy)

On And On With Lou Reed by Trash (Unable to Find Vendor)

Internet by Camille Davila (buy)

Heil Brockwurst (Großer, Dicker König) by Die Goldenen Zitronen (buy)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May You Always Be Troo

I've posted about Detsorgsekalf once before, but because they are, hands down, my current all-time favorite band, I couldn't resist writing about them again. In a 20-minute EP jam-packed with great lines--every single one of them shouted at a delirious pitch--here are my Top 10 favorites from Troo Grim Warriors Of The Necrokkult:

1. I wish I had marshmallows!/Goes well with man-flesh! (The Embers Of Your Church)
2. We are troo/We are grim/We will come to pillage your village, oh yeah! (Troo Grim Warriors Of The Necrokkult)
3. Slaying the poodle! (Troo Grim Warriors Of The Necrokkult)
4. Wait! We've already made that Star Wars reference! (Frostburn Upon The Winter Of Mankind's Discontent)
5. Cold!/Frostbite!/Elephant bread!/Cookies!/Milk!/Hot black tar! (Frostburn Upon The Winter Of Mankind's Discontent)
6. You remind me of my ex-girlfriend/She was a leper! (Necrolust Of The Whore Of Whormalton)
7. What are we doing on the highway? (Necrolust Of The Whore Of Whormalton)
8. I fucking hate Jumanji /Damn you, Robin Williams! (Necrolust Of The Whore Of Whormalton)
9. I shall now waste another, maybe, 40 seconds of your miserable, wretched life/With a keyboard solo! (Keyboard Solo)
10. And for no reason, here's a guitar solo! (Black Xmas)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Divine Secrets of the Yay!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!! Sisterhood

My brow frets when I actually find myself in agreement with Jane's Addiction, but yes, nothing is shocking: not that new homoerotic "Network" Mac commercial, nor the annoying folk-freaks Feathers openly writing the word "Yay!!!!!!!!!!" on their website, nor Wolfmother claiming they'd never heard of Black Sabbath until a few years ago. The only thing in the world which makes me gasp in disbelief is when I find myself actively embracing a song by softie sister Vashti Bunyan. Can I help it if the hypnotic swirl of piano on Feet Of Clay makes my heart go into cardiac arrest? It's my shocking little secret.