Sunday, October 02, 2016


LINK WRAY "All Cried Out" Holy sweet mother of god, why didn't any of you tell me about this song. Only The Band themselves can hold a candle to it, but here comes Link Wray in 1973 singing like an uncanny late-period Helm/Manuel hybrid, on a country weeper so beautiful and haunted and big that you can't even see the other side.

SUN CITY GIRLS "Halcyon Days of Symmetry" Not on YouTube! Two minutes and 24 seconds from 1987, the lead-off song on their first 7" EP. (They had released 3 LPs already.) A raw blast of punk improvisation, a hot shot of power trio fury in the service of pure non-verbal post-tongue Babel worship. On electric guitar and bass, the Bishop brothers Rick and Alan respectively and unitedly achieve a density mixed with velocity that is only found in hardcore punk, speed metal, industrial, and noise; they place it directly in none of those (although I honestly still think of them primarily as a hardcore band, one of the most expansive and long-lived hardcore bands ever). You might hate their utter reckless improvisational abandon, but in true punk fashion it's over in 2 minutes, suddenly as absent as it was present. (They have some releases where they do it for 25 minutes instead; even some of their biggest fans avoid those.)

BASTARDS "Turvallista Huomista" Mindblowing Finnish hardcore from 1982.

AARON NEVILLE "Hercules" Funky Allen Touissant production from 1973.

ROYAL TRUX "Morphic Resident" Might be a Top 5 Trux Track. And hell no I'm not messing up this page by putting the album cover on here :-)

13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS "Livin' On" Kinda underwritten song but lyrics contain some heady nugs... "I may drop in and plant smokestacks" haunts me the most, and of course gotta love "I hear you talkin' / You're only poppin' spit."

PEKKA AIRAKSINEN "Fos 2" Crazy electronic track from Finland. Bad trip noise kinda like Can's "Aumgn" but with more rhythm, from a 1972 solo LP by a member of The Sperm.

SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE "Hollow Light, Severed Sun" The debut LP was great, but it was his 2nd album, a CD-only release on Holy Mountain called Dust & Chimes, that really scared the shit out of me back in the late 90s glory daze. Sure the great post-Takoma acoustic guitar instrumentals were there, but the songs with vocals, like this one, are particularly intense. Holy Mountain released it on vinyl for the first time ever this year; need to grip.

BOLA SETE "The Lonely Gaucho"

OMIT "Lander" One of NZ's heaviest.

TWINSISTERMOON "Conjuring" Only recently discovered how goddamn good this band (solo proect?) is/was. Natural Snow Buildings great too. Progressive French Folk Rock lives!

ELASTIK BAND "Spazz" I kinda don't like this song. More 'proto new wave' than proto-punk.

DAN MELCHIOR UND DAS MENACE "Norman Roake" This song is from Christmas for Crows, a really good LP that put Mr. Melchior on my radar when it came out back in 2008. Doesn't seem to be on YouTube, but some other songs from the album are, like "In A Daze." You can buy secondhand copies real cheap still -- gotta grab those 2000s gems while they're still being overlooked, taken for granted, etc.

INSTANT AGONY "Think Of England" More MBW (mindblowing) hardcore from 1982.

E.C.P. "Generate" I checked out this song on YouTube after reading somebody named DJ Toecutter raving about it, in an interview in this crazy foldover newsprint zine ("Fuck Your Money!! Do Not Buy! This is Free") that the Digital Hardcore label published sometime in the 90s (of course).

TOPMOST "The End" More weird-bee Finnish garage experimentation... could the Topmost have been Finland's Red Crayola?

BRIMSTONE HOWL "Child Of Perdition" Lincoln, Nebraska band, written about in Blastitude (when they were called something else) by Charles Lieurance over ten goddamn years ago. Look for Charles's book In Search of Pagan Hollywood, coming soon on Feral House.

DEAD MOON "Kicked Out, Kicked In" Speaking of ten, and twenty, and thirty (approximately when this song was recorded), and forty goddamn years ago...

DELMA LACHNEY & BLIND UNCLE GASPARD "La Danseuse" ...and fifty, and sixty, and seventy, and eighty, and ninety (approximately when this song was recorded) (!) goddamn years ago...

RITALIN O.D. Bellwood, Illinois's finest.

Saturday, October 01, 2016


Superb video of a party thrown by Volcano Sound System in Kingston, Jamaica, in the year 1984. Volcano was also a successful label, the business venture of one Henry "Junjo" Lawes, but he was probably making just as much money from the packed sound system dances where tons of Kingstonians turned out to hear Yellowman and Josey Wales, Jamaica's version of rock stars. The camera here is in the Skateland DJ booth, right there with the mic controllers; attendees crowd around to watch the masters of ceremony ply their trade; one can imagine hundreds, maybe even a couple thousand more attendees beyond them, all hearing the rhythms and vocals loud and clear over the massive speakers, dancing, talking, eating, drinking, partying down. Josey Wales starts the show with utter smoothness, and Lee Van Cliff follows him as the second half of a textbook one-two punch. Then, a rather hilarious guy with a deep froggy voice takes the mic from Van Cliff and keeps saying "MY NEW NAME IS.... BRBRBBRBRBRRBBR RIBBIT-MAN!!!" I think it's Papa Toyan, but I barely know what the hell is going on at all. I do know how crucial the selection is at the 7:20 mark when "100 Weight of Collie Weed" by Carlton Livingston comes booming over the speakers. Gotta be one of the smoothest and baddest drug smuggling songs of all time. tough like a Melville/Delon crime film, and now Josey Wales is voicing over Livingston's vocal so that the titular weed isn't "coming from St. Anne's" but in fact "COMING TO SKATELAND!" where the dance is being held. The Livingston tune gives way into its own instrumental dub version, and the Outlaw Josey just plain goes off... it's his show all the way, for this clip anyway, with Yellowman really just playing backup. After "Collie Weed" a guy I've never heard of named Louis Lepke takes a turn; he looks cool, and his first verse really rips, maybe in fact too much, too soon, as he seems to get flustered and quickly stops, saying something like "I'm kinda frightened/not in a wonderful condition/so I get nervous when I heard an explosion," referring to the gunshot sound effects someone else in the DJ booth is going nuts with. Josey Wales takes back the mic and I could swear critiques Lepke's performance with a quick "I would rehearse these things or not/that was secretly hot," which is really goddamn accurate.

Anyway, check the perennial Who Cork The Dance for a typically vast page on the Volcano Sound System, including a whole bunch of photos, flier reproductions, and non-dead links to massive sound files of dance after dance.

Needless to say there's lots more where this came from (YouTube), like an hour of Legendary Wha Dat Sound in 1985 (below), but first here's Part 2 of this Volcano jammy in which the Outlaw Josey Wales just keeps rollin', even rockin' a little "Leavin' On A Jet Plane." And it don't stop:

Sunday, May 29, 2016


1. SCROLL DOWNERS. Longtime Blastitude fave Lexie Mountain has a way of singing lead for heavy moderne psych rock bands that, like this brand new one, don't immediately fit into any one category. Which means that they must be Trip Metal (hell, Scroll Downers are playing Trip Metal Fest in Detroit as I type, possibly literally, it's 12:04 AM on May 29th, 2016 Eastern Standard Time). Her first such band was Crazy Dreams Band, who put out two great records on Holy Mountain in 2008 and 2010, the latter of which earned them a cover story on what is still the last "actual" "issue" of Blastitude to be published. Now she's in a band called Scroll Downers, which is her and the two guys who provided the music (guitar/bass and drums) for the band Dope Body, who I still have yet to hear, here grinding up a grand loud pulsing dream heaviness that is a perfect vehicle for Lexie's first world warrior woman rock poetics. Debut LP is called Hot Winter and it's out now on Ehse Records, also streaming here as of this writing.

2. FILMS OF INTEREST. Blackmail Is My Life et al (d. Kinji Fukasaku), an essay by Ivan Infante... The House With Laughing Windows by the brilliant Alexandra Heller-Nicholas... interview with Heller-Nicholas about "Suspiria, giallo cinema & the lure of the sensory... Gueros (2014, d. Alonso Ruizpalacios) gets into some deft Nouvelle Vague via Djibril Diop Mambety via Jimmy Jarmusch territory as it enters sideways into a story about the occupation of a university in present-day Mexico City via another story about the last days of an underground rock star...

3. BEACH BOYS Holland. I don't want to hear about the seemingly 19th "essential" forgotten bearded Beach Boys album made after 1970 either (shit man, I don't even really like Pacific Ocean Blue), but I picked this up cheap & semi-thrashed at a record show and it actually is really good. Key track right now is the anti-imperialist pro-indigenous "The Trader," especially the second half, lead vocals by Carl, heavy lyrics ("Making it softly / Like the evening sea, trying to be / Making it go / Creating it gently / Like a morning breeze, a life of ease / Eyes that see / Beyond tomorrow, through to the time without hours / Passing the Eden of Flowers / Reason to live / Embracing together / Like the merging streams, crying dreams" for example) by Jack Rieley, who was actually the group's manager at the time, and may have even been a bit of a Svengali... I think there's a story about Rieley and the band there, particularly about the making of this album, that an enterprising music writer could probably even get paid for!

4. OTHER RECORDS I GOT AT THAT RECORD SHOW. It was a particulary nice haul (thanks as always to the Rogers Park Music Swap and Funk Trunk Records)... I picked up a better $2.50 copy than my previous skippy/scratchy $2 copy of one of my favorite records of all time, Joni's Hejira (and if we're gonna quote cosmic lyrics, how about "We're only particles of change I know, I know / Orbiting around the sun / But how can I have that point of view / When I'm always bound and tied to someone / White flags of winter chimneys / Waving truce against the moon / In the mirrors of a modern bank / From the window of a hotel room")... a $5 copy of the Alvarius B/Sir Richard Bishop split LP If You Don't Like It... Don't! on Three Lobed, in which both artists perform a great set of all-instrumental all-acoustic guitar soli... a $15 copy of the Phoenix Records reissue of Flower Travellin' Band's Satori, even heavier and more beautiful than I already knew it to be (uh oh, more cosmic lyrics: "There is no up or down / Your truth is the only master / Death is made by the living / Pain is only intense to you / The sun shines every day / The sun shines every day"), and I'd never looked at an LP copy before so wasn't aware of all the detailed head-trip drawings inside the vase... I got Fairport Convention's Liege & Lief semi-thrashed for $5 and can finally say I truly get that band (thank goodness, it really took awhile)... also Judee Sill's 1st (4 Men With Beards reissue), Sunfighter by Kantner & Slick (dystopian white gospel?), dollar LPs by Coleman Hawkins and Rick James... fun stuff... not quite "being at Trip Metal Fest" level fun, but I'll take it....

5. POSTSCRIPT: Wanted to throw in a massive book I'm slowly working my way through called One River by Wade Davis, a stunning travelogue, ethnobotanical reverie, history of indigenous South America (both geographical and sociocultural), history/appreciation of the work of Richard Evan Schultes (1915-2001), Erowid-worthy trip journal, and much more, and it resonates tangentially but intensely with at least two of the things aforementioned (namely the song "The Trader" and the film Gueros), and I'm reading it because of another stunning film I should've mentioned up there, Embrace of the Serpent (2015, d. Ciro Guerra), which was partially based on and/or inspired by it. South America, man... the heaviest...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

LIFE IS A RIP OFF by John "Inzane" Olson (THIRD MAN BOOKS) I'm not gonna be cooler-than-thou about it; this book is probably going to change my life. It's definitely gonna rewire my brain, and maybe even hotwire my heart. Until they do the reprint books of the entire run of Forced Exposure and Negative Guest List (and c'mon, "they" have gotta do both), this will go right on the shelf next to Carburetor Dung and Whore Just Like The Rest as my favorite book of music writing. After reading the (great) introductions by Bryan Ramirez, Ben "Hell" Hall, Tovah Olson, and Hank Rollins, I flipped around randomly, already feeling the synapses firing/remapping/refiring/etc and in fact overwhelmed by reviews of records I've never heard of that reference 7 more bands, 6 of which I've never heard of, not to mention all manner of non-musical references and allusions and deep feelings also contained within...... and that's when it hit me: if the guy wrote one review a day for entire year, maybe I should just read one review a day for an entire year. Start with today's date, May 11th, and just go forward from there. So far I've read about Iconoclasta (Mexican prog from the 90s??), False (contempo black metal from Minneapolis??), Dezerter (80s hardcore from Poland??), and Havohej (early one-man drum-machine black metal from upstate NY... hey, them I actually know!) Gotta be patient, but it's perfect; I can absorb one contained set of information at a time, head to the computer (or in some likely-to-be-extremely-rare Havohej-like instances, my own shelves), check out the tunes right then and there, sit with them for the day, and onward. Slow listening, right? Kudos to Mr. Olson. Kudos to Third Man Books for a job well chosen and well done. Kudos to Mr. Rollins for his phrase "to butterfly stroke the ancient ooze of tune begatment." And finally, out of all the hilarious, wacked-out, and heartfelt lines in here I could quote, I'll just mention that the (December 21, 2012) review of Deep Purple In Rock begins with the phrase "If pure nut grinding is your business..." P.S. Are you kidding me, just read today's entry and it's "Side 3 & 4" of Maxine J. Van Eenam Live Piano Selections 3-20-72 acetate, found at a thrift store in East Lansing, MI, "total mystery edition of 1," "side long piano mournful wanderings with a killer lo-fi 'no one is around' loner ambiance," "has an almost hashish dust glow to the jams and pitched down 4% some sonic spots are just plain dark-evil goth," "the chances of you ear-peeping this if you are not in the shadow of the John-zone beast is ZIP ZERO"... man...

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Lots to chew on in this BOMB Magazine interview with 75 DOLLAR BILL.

I wanna buy this book. Speaking of which, there was also a BOMB Magazine interview with its author, John Corbett. Lots to chew on there too, especially if you like records. (I'm pretty sure you like records.) LOTS of great interviews in BOMB Magazine besides these.

Buncha truly great mixes by Mixcloud user Tristes Tropiques, aka Jon Dale, the music writer who brought you the absolutely utterly crucial "Story of UK DIY: 131 experimental underground classics from 1977-1985" piece for Fact Magazine, and many more over the years. On his Mixcloud account, you might as well start with the Have You Checked The Children series, a very extensive historical survey of the New Zealand post-punk underground. (But hey: be careful on that site and pay attention to the track listing because you can't rewind! Once you start a mix, it has to play until the end before you can hear a song again.)

The Dusted Magazine Listed feature with Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance which hipped me to said Mixcloud, as well as Joe McPhee's crazy "Cosmic Love."

The song "Snerl," by Wallsockets, which was released in New Zealand in 1981, I discovered on Have You Checked The Children #1 in 2016, and is my new favorite song. "I'm not a human at all / I'm really not a human at all / I'm a snerl / I'm a snerl."

The Wikipedia page for the album Songs of Leonard Cohen, which confirms that the haunting female vocals on "Suzanne" (and two other songs, you probably know which) were sung by the mother of Christina Applegate, which I only found out because sometimes I fall into deep late-night-talk-show celebrity-interview YouTube rabbit holes and I watched a clip of Ms. Applegate on the Jimmy Kimmel show tell stories of her childhood in which she kept name-checking Stephen Stills' Manassas.

Before Mondrian, Native American Women Painted Abstract Art On Saddlebags

Neoliberalism - the ideology at the root of all our problems

OK, that's all, I can lose these and restart this damn computer now...

Friday, April 29, 2016


One bright side of the sad news about Prince is all of the videos currently on YouTube, which wasn't always the case. As far as I can tell the actual LP tracks are still hard to find, which I support (buy used LPs, unless they spike in price like Bowie's, and I think all of his music is available on Tidal), especially if random live clips like this one (Live at the Brits in 2006) are allowed to sprout up overnight like glowing purple Spanish moss. Watching all of these has been a great way to rediscover and pay tribute to the man, seeing him rip so many scorching guitar solos, all of his dance moves, how he controls the song and the stage. It doesn't matter if he was making good albums or not, or whatever kind of embattled and/or fallen-off era it was in his career, his live performances were always a force of nature, all notes essential (Neil Young was also like this onstage, throughout the 80s and 90s and always, see the A Perfect Echo fan compilation for proof). I still don't plan to really listen to any of the seemingly 30 albums Prince released since the last one I paid attention too (The Love Symbol Album from 1992), but here's a performance from 2006, right in the thick of what I honestly then perceived as his grand old superstar irrelevance, and it's just goddamn great. He starts out with some MOR Santana knockoff that he had released that year, just the kind of song I was avoiding at the time, and he's playing and singing and dancing every single note like it's the most important one ever. It's not a great song, but it's still stunning just how great this dude is/was, and his bands were always superb too. I don't know who the drummer and bassist are here, but he's got Sheila E. on percussion and is reunited with Wendy & Lisa. Ms. Melvoin really is a tight-as-hell rhythm guitarist, and Ms. Coleman picks up right where she left off, suffusing the music with ethereal elegant background beauty. And who else would also have three Barbarellas in diaphanous blue dancing next to him, with one of them turning out to be a heavy background singer on "Purple Rain"? No one else.

Many other videos are recommended, such as a completely bombastic 2011 version of "The Beautiful Ones" on George Lopez, in which he gives equal billing to Misty Copeland, the future Principal Ballerina of the American Ballet Theater, and holds his own. Or the way he jives with the crowd in this solo acoustic set, or goes full Joni in this one. Or this scorching version of "Bambi" from 1990. There's lots more (all the interviews too), but one video I don't enjoy is the SNL after party. Just a little too #fratty, although it does rule when Prince says "Dearly inebriated..." (BTW, I suspect that Mark and Brix may have been intentionally channeling the Revolution in this 1988 performance, just wanted to get that off my chest.)

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