Sunday, December 30, 2007

Steve Martin "Let's Get Small" LP
Sun City Girls "Def-In-Italy" mp3 rip

Def-In-Italy remains one of the more elusive Sun City Girls releases. Part of the band's 1987 flurry of Cloaven Cassettes, it was a document of their summer 1984 cross-country tour with fellow Phoenix, AZ hardcore band Jodie Foster's Army. One side features their first show of the tour in its entirety, while the second side features 9 different songs from 9 other stops. I have always wanted to hear this thing, for its confused/angered punk-audience verite as much as the music, and so far I have not been able to, which is no small thing -- out of roughly 85 SCG releases I have heard at least 70. (Don't worry, I already have my medal. It lives inside my heart, I just know it.) Sure, I have heard the Def in Italy reissue, from back in 2004 on Eclipse Records as part of their double-LP series of two Cloaven Cassette at a time (so far they have done, and may be stalled at, four out of a projected ten), but of course, those are not true reissues, editing what is usually a C60 tape onto just two sides of vinyl so that a lot of material must be omitted (even as other previously unreleased material is added). Anyway some share-blog posted what I assumed was the original version, so I downloaded and unzipped it immediately, only to find that it was in fact a rip of the vinyl reissue.... the crowd-baiting insanity of that Albuquerque show remains unheard by me.... I can only listen to Side B of the Live...For Chilly bootleg 7-inch and wonder.... it is good to hear Gocher's (vinyl edition only) version of "Dark Star"'s surprising how much this solo (?) acoustic (?) take gets into the same cavernous distances and space loneliness that the electric Dead's did circa 1968, not to mention the same casual and off-center sweet-and-sour 'jazz' harmonies....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rhythm & Sound s/t
Moondog "Snaketime Series" LP
Mouthus "Saw A Halo"
Fushitsusha "Double Live" (PSF 15/16)

Such a heavy record by Rhythm & Sound, maybe in my top 10 from the last 10 years.... Moondog record was brought over by some guests, new vinyl repro of one of his earliest self-released records, from 1956, with a great hand-crescent moon design on the cover. Only the second time I've been hanging out while a Moondog record was playing, and the first time was good, and this time was even better, space-age 1950s-vintage acoustic chamber music that achieves otherworldly status by embracing strains of music from all over this world. The back cover liner notes list the time signature for each song, and we had out the pen and paper trying to figure out how to count things like 1/4 time and 5/2 time.... played the Mouthus record for guests as an example of a great new noise-rock release... one was wondering about Keiji Haino so I played the second double-live Fushitsusha CD... "This album is ridiculous" was all I could manage for an introduction, though awesome is a more correct word because love it or hate it, this music inspires more awe than it does ridicule. Guest called it "future primitive," which I could see, some tribal speaking-in-tongues ritual from the Stone Age going on in front of a short-circuting electric cable that is bigger than a house. In a thunderstorm. Haino's vocals were so intense I had to turn it off before too long. It's not a party record. For all the volume, it's his constant use of silence that is really terrifying.
LITERARY SPECIAL (all on actual paper!)

Imago by Octavia E. Butler
Working by Studs Terkel
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
Amazing Dope Tales by Stephen Gaskin
The In-Your-Face Basketball Book by Chuck Wielgus, Jr. & Alexander Wolff
Ecology and Consciousness edited by Richard Grossinger
Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara by James Gurney

Bixobal #1
Horror Underground #1 and #2
Cometbus #49 and #50
King Ink #3
Lumpen #106
Skeleton News #14
Broken Records
Teeth, Oral History (from 2006)
Ong Ong #1 and #2 (from 2005)
Phase!Mag #2 (from 2005)
Juxtapoz #26 (from 2000)
Feminist Baseball #15 (from 1997)
Sound Collector #2 (from 1998)
Butt Rag #8 and #9 (from 1993 and 1994)
Puncture #33 (from 1995)
Frantzine #5 (from 1995)
Grand Royal #2

These zines (and magazines) have been piling up for basically a year or two. Bixobal is a new music zine on paper that comes from Seattle under the auspices of the Ri Be Xibalba label. Thus we get a SunCity-centric point of view that is always welcome around these parts (informative article by a Climax Golden twin on Korean 78s, Sir Richard Bishop travel journal), a 'classic' paper zine record review section, and a super-definitive interview with David Nuss of the No-Neck Blues Band. The editorial tone is very 1990s a la magazines like Halana and ND -- measured, reverent, appreciative of beauty, not the unhinged, irreverent, and ugliness-appreciative tone that I associate with the more chaotic 2000s....speaking of which, Horror Underground is a new mini-zine, also from Seattle (via the Enterruption label), that reflects the 2000s vibe, as it consists entirely of a bunch of quick-hit horror/noise record reviews, printed up on a single piece of paper folded over once so you get a horror-imagery cover plus three pages of small-print text. Thoughtful descriptive music writing combines with the quick-hit set-up for a nice blast of info/culture. And "Please feel free to photocopy and distribute HORROR UNDERGROUND freely," it says. I don't think I have words to do justice to Cometbus because it's probably the greatest zine of all time. I guess it's like the ultimate perzine, but don't take that as a backhanded compliment because EVERY zine should be a perzine and that goofy emo term just kind of distracts us from that. (The term "perblog" is kinda like that too, dontcha think?) I never think the short stories are going to be good, but they're always excellent, and interviews with everyone from Ian Mackaye to a Berkeley community radio pioneer to a guy who makes popular bike messenger/DJ bags give the mag lots of depth. King Ink is Joe Harrington's thing up in Portland, ME, and it's actually a pretty thick glossy newsstand rock magazine, but it also focuses heavily on the mostly unknown Maine scene, which is a pretty zine thing to do, and of course Harrington's rowdy rock writing could really only live in a zine. Metal band The Sword are on the cover of #3, and the subject of a long gonzo interview piece by Harrington, with much more, tons of reviews, lotta fun... Lumpen is the forever-running free Chicago magazine by that guy Edmar and his pack of hip and erudite culture jammer city kids... I pick up every issue and sometimes read almost half of it... a mix of radical political theory and artschool dropout party hijinks, it is definitely part of the Chicago cultural landscape, I would be bummed if it went away... but even better is the new kid on the Chicago block, Skeleton News. It's a B&W foldover on newsprint, classic newspaper style, only about 14 or 16 pages long, crammed full with thoughtful articles and essays and features that share some kind of deep-cover educated/philosphical/poetic post-punk cultural stance. Also an excellent comics section and a devil-may-care sense of layout and design that keeps your eyes moving all over the place. On their 14th issue in less than two years, they've yet to show any sign of slowing down. Resilient and Broken Records I just bought on a whim at Quimbys, both one-shot perzine kinda things. I was trying to find some Chicago-centric titles I'd never heard of before, and Resilient was by a woman who moved from Brooklyn to Chicago, I think, and mainly about that, so pretty cool as far as learning about her learn about the city and whatnot. Very bike-centric, so that was nice too. Good layout, I liked it. Broken Records was by a girl about her experiences in a record store when she was in high school or college or something like that. I forget where the store was but I think it was somewhere kinda bland and midwestern, not unlike the record store I worked at 15 years ago in Lincoln, NE. What went on in her store, and her zine stories about it all, were kinda bland and midwestern too. So I was a little disappointed with Broken Records, but I do think a great zine could be written about working in a record store.... well, maybe not. It would have to avoid being anything like High Fidelity whatsoever, and that might just be impossible in this day and age... although Cometbus would probably pull it off if they ever tried it (maybe they have)... Teeth and Oral History are little hand-made construction-paper-and-staples silk-screened art chapbooks by an Ann Arbor resident named Tom Carey. Inside are rough and minimal comics/paintings that are comparable to the psychedelic anthropomorphisms of the Fort Thunder style. Teeth is like five or six abstract vibrating pictures of what I guess is a toothy mouth, and Oral History seems to tell some sort of crude reptile/mammal/human/alien birth story. Intriguing.... I read about Ong Ong in Arthur Mag's Bull Tongue a couple years ago and then up and ordered both issues from their website. Pretty good stuff - the journalism is very casual, random, low-depth, and on suitably punk-house fare, all of which makes it a real cozy zine to check out -- you know, subjects like a Washington State group that provides services for incarcerated pregnant women, a recipe for beet burgers, a guide to Eastern European beers, an apreesh of the rad Colombian street punk movie Rodrigo D: No Future that is barely a page long, an interview with John Olson of Wolf Eyes, more apreesh on the likes of Dusan Makavejev, Sublime Frequencies, Jessamine, New Zealand drone, art, a record reviews section that is like two records long, silkscreened covers, and, last but not least, CD's come with both issues... can't remember what the 2nd ish CD is all about but the first one is made up of truly excellent field recordings done throughout the Seattle Park System by one Yann Novak. Keep in mind, none of these features (besides the CD) looks too deeply or too long at its subjects, but if you'd like to at least dip your pinky toe in a bunch of worthwhile stuff, Ong Ong will work for you... ah, and then there's Phase! Mag, from Greece, the greatest 6-page music zine with hardly anything in it ever published. Because what IS in it is usually some awesome pix and art, maybe a list of some rad things on one page, and maybe one other page with any text at all, maybe something like a paragraph on a Magik Markers show, or a short interview with someone amazing (like Charlie Ward of Stomach Ache records himself, etc.)LITERARY SPECIAL TO BE CONTINUED....?....?....?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Locrian/Daleth split CS
Ricardo Villalobos "Fabric 36"
Civilization 4 soundtrack on CDR
Earth "Pentastar: In The Style Of Demons"
The Valerie Project CD
Basalt Fingers s/t CD
Grateful Dead "Dick's Picks Vol. 12"
Wolf Eyes "Time of Clearing"

Once again, this Locrian track is a really nice 12-minute elegaic organ/guitar drone, a nice way to start the day.... co-worker has the Civilization 4 game on his computer and he did the ole drag/drop with the sound files and burned a CDR of the background music. I've never played or seen the game, but this disc is a good listen at work! Totally new-age computer-game background music that tells the story of man from primeval to medieval and I guess beyond, though it never gets 'modern'...all I know is that the mellow pipe-and-tabor pastiche in the middle sounds great coming out of the mellow ambient primordial/tribal swamp music at the beginning...Believe it or not, I had not heard anything by Earth besides Earth 2 until today. Earth 2 is of course one of the most massive albums of the 1990s. I remember when I first heard it, in like 1993 when the Portland, OR band Atomic 61 (some of you might have crossed paths with 'em) played Duffy's Tavern in Lincoln, NE. They had the soundman play the album over the PA before their set, and compared to what I was used to hearing in between bands at Duffy's it just sounded like the sky splitting open slowly forever. I had to ask a guy from the band what it was, and he told me it was a band called Earth, and that this was their album Earth 2 on Sub Pop, and that he had just seen 'em live a couple weeks before and that King Buzzo from the Melvins was playing in the band. Researching a little now, I think he must've meant Joe Preston, but the connection was made because I had of course heard the Melvins and of course Earth 2 was the next and perhaps final step beyond what Dale, Buzz & Joe had concocted. I later learned the legend that to create this album Earth just went into the studio and played Slayer riffs as loudly and slowly as possible, one of the greatest ideas in rock & roll history. Anyway, Pentastar on first listen seems like a pretty fine album. Still heavy and doomy but it wisely makes no attempt to drone out in a 2 style, instead casually moving into subtle southern-rock territory. Now I might just have to check out their recent "post-rock" stuff, and is the new Bees/Honey/Skull one good? Basalt Fingers are a "Supergroup" featuring Ben Chasny from Six Organs, Elisa Ambrogio from The Magik Markers, and Brian Sullivan from Mouthus. Judging from the 2007 albums by each of these three bands, this trio could write some amazing songs together right about now, but it turns out this is a jam band all the way, an all-screaming all-electric guitar psych-noise trio giving us two side-long improv rave-ups. On first couple listens I was kinda thumbs down because it was so merely a jam session, but the first track kept coming up in the CD changer, and it would always take me a minute or two (or five) to figure out it was guitars, and only then would I remember, oh yeah, this is Basalt Fingers. There is something weirdly submerged and claustrophobic about this first track that has become pretty appealing...the second track doesn't quite have the same magic, but the guitarists are pretty much on fire throughout. All three seem to adopt the Mouthus/Sullivan noise/improv aggresso-blur style. JEEZUS, Dick's Picks #12 might be my single favorite Grateful Dead release, and no, I'm not high. I was expecting it to be good, three discs of selections from two different shows in June 1974, but I wasn't expecting this. It's actually very nice to hear a Dick's Pick that is freed from the tyranny of the traditional setlist, as both show excerpts lean heavily on perfect midrange second-set Dead jamming, and by midrange I mean that as much of a guitar hero as Garcia was, their post-Pigpen 70's music was most often at its best when his playing was indiscernable within the Kreutzmann-hung Weir/Lesh/Godchaux fabric (with Weir the most underrated weaver). Disc 1 starts with some sweet shit that eventually becomes a China Rider, and disc 3 with a 28-minute whopper that incorporates a Space and a Mind Left Body before becoming...are you ready...."U.S. Blues"! A nice mellow version in fact.... Time of Clearing, a limited CDR on Gods of Tundra, is the first time I've really listened to Wolf Eyes in about two years, and they're still doing it, releasing countless spaced-out no-vocals practice-space reinterpretations of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack every year.... and I would still say no one can do it better except for Tobe Hooper and Wayne Bell themselves.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Land Before Time: The Big Freeze DVD
Disney Sing Along Songs: Enchanted Tea Party DVD
Incredible Salad (recipe by Larry Dolman)
These Are Powers "Terrific Seasons" CD
Faust s/t CD
Basalt Fingers s/t CD

DVDs were Christmas presents for you-know-which, the two smaller Dolmans. The Land Before Time thing is one of many made-for-DVD sequels in a cuddly animated dinosaur franchise. By late age 3 Young Phil was begging for dinosaur depictions, so we started him on those CGI recreations by BBC (in the style of their Planet Earth series, so you know they're good), I think it's called Prehistoric Planet. He loved those and was in awe of them but it's weird, after watching 'em for almost a year he's getting a little fed up with all those meat-eaters. If that was a pun, it seriously wasn't intended, but the point is the movies are too real and starting to scare him with all the "roars." The Land Before Time stuff is a well-earned break -- it has a couple scary allosaur appearances but the overall tone is chill friendship/family/quest-type stuff. Claire was a little bummed about the dinosaurs and wanted equal girl time so I put in the Princess Tea Party DVD, a highlight reel of songs from movies featuring princesses and those lovable girls who become them in dreams. I am really not a Disney fan but you often have to give in to the quality of their craftsmanship, and there are some classic characters on here (even from the new stuff, like that ridiculous parrot in Aladdin), and not even all of the music is terrible. Snow White singing "Someday My Prince Will Come" way back in 1937 definitely sounds like a dream, thanks especially to the strange fluttering voice of one Adriana Caselotti. I'm always a little disappointed when I resort to the DVD babysitter -- I try to do it no more than once a week, though it's inevitably more in the winter time. I had to do it tonight so I could make the Incredible Salad before the greens went bad, a week's worth of spinach, red kale, green lettuce, red cabbage, daikon radish, and carrots, all tossed together. I mean, can you believe this blog? This isn't what you signed up for, right? At least it's real. After those movies were finally over and the salad was finally winding down, the first record I put on was the new These Are Powers, in honor of them playing here in town in a couple days, New Year's Eve at the Empty Bottle. (Opening for some band I've never heard called The Black Kids.) They've definitely made a good record. Not all songs have stuck after a couple listens, but they all seem to have an intriguing depth and there are at least 3 or 4 that make big strides from their excellent debut 7-inch. "Make Visible" is an early standout, with a great creeping prepared bass guitar field and A#1 guitar hook with doubled vocals. Also, the 20:20 long "Drawing Water" (which I believe is Side Three of the LP version, with an etching on Side Four) holds up very well throughout. I'd like to have this on vinyl but the CD is cool with gatefold digipak featuring great repros of their former drummer Ted McGrath's spindly/explosive artwork and lettering.... alright kids are in bed and it's time for the weird stuff... haven't sat down with the first Faust album in gosh, I'm going to guess six years, but that's because I listened to it so much 1998-2001. And I had still forgotten how crazy this shit was. Take "Meadow Meal" alone -- it's the shortest of the three songs on the album, but how many universes happen in there? Desolate back-porch wind-chimes that are actually electronic echo-chatter that moves quite a bit more intricately than, say, similar material on AMM's (great but slightly overrated and later improved upon?!) first album, that's one universe, then a silly amazing prog song with call-and-response vocals about "the wonderful wooden reason to stand in line, keep in line," a dirty-prog guitar and organ raveup, more of the verse, a solid minute or two of a big thunderstorm, and then, off in the distance while the rain still falls, a celestial organ solo coda. What were they smoking? (Marijuana -- ed.)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Loren Mazzacane Connors "Portrait of a Soul" mp3s
Vince Guaraldi Trio "A Charlie Brown Christmas" CD
Low "Christmas" mp3s
various Sesame Street clips on YouTube
Grateful Dead "Dick's Picks Vol. 11" mp3s
"The Snowman" on YouTube
Gate "The Dew Line" mp3s
1978 Bob Dylan Playboy interview

It's always nice, every couple weeks when I need parenting to be nothing but easy, to sit the kids on my lap at the computer and hit up YouTube for nothing but Sesame Street, muppets or live animals. The "related videos" always deliver.... Got a few new Dick's Pick's to go through, awesome -- Vol. 11 is a 1972 show from Jersey City with a 30-minute "Dark Star." I went to that track first, and couldn't believe it when after 30 minutes of fragile feather-light dream-float Lesh suddenly blunders right into the "Cumberland Blues" bassline at full speed and volume....the band has no choice but to fall in, and they proceed to play the shit out of the song. On the other hand, in keeping with the Dead's inimitable and constant tightrope walk between awesome and terrible, the wanna-be CSN harmonies are SO BAD on "Uncle John's Band." They nailed it in the studio on Workingman's and American Beauty and then blew it live forever thereafter. Lesh was probably a worse on-stage singer than Donna. (Show me one non-horrible live version of "Box of Rain.") Speaking of YouTube fantasies, we were checking out Frosty the Snowman and one of the related links that caught the kids' eyes was a 30-minute cartoon called The Snowman, based on the book by Raymond Briggs. I hadn't heard of it, but we watched it, and it was mind-blowingly magical. Turns out it's considered one of the greatest childrens films in the history of England, as it goddamn should be. Check it out.... hadn't listened to The Dew Line in a few years. I've always considered it the best Gate album. Still nothing else quite like the way his ultra-crude clanking loops mass up into thick bleak hazes. When all hope is gone, a sad loop says so much.....I read the Dylan interview here -- he says some great stuff right towards the beginning, talking about where he comes from in upper Minnesota: "Well, in the winter, everything was still, nothing moved. Eight months of that. You can put it together. You can have some amazing hallucinogenic experiences doing nothing but looking out your window. There is also the summer, when it gets hot and sticky and the air is very metallic. There is a lot of Indian spirit. The earth there is unusual, filled with ore. So there is something happening that is hard to define. There is a magnetic attraction there. Maybe thousands and thousands of years ago, some planet bumped into the land there. There is a great spiritual quality throughout the Midwest. Very subtle, very strong, and that is where I grew up." I've lived in the Midwest since age 4 and I couldn't agree more....

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Burial "Untrue" mp3s
Ricardo Villalobos "Fabric 36" mp3
T.O.M. Project "Renaissance" mp3
Theo Angell & the Tabernacle "Auraplinth" CD
Vince Guaraldi Trio "A Charlie Brown Christmas" CD
Killer of Sheep DVD

The Burial album continues to confound. I've heard a few people say that they think it's boring. I did at first too, and as I listen to it for the 8th or 9th time I can still hear it. But it seems to exist on a plane where neither boring nor exciting is an issue. I'm pretty sure my 10th listen will be just as confounding. Stumbled across the whole Fabric 36 mix by Ricardo Villalobos as a bootleg 70-minute mp3. I was gonna buy the album and I'm still gonna buy it, especially if it's broken up into tracks. Been reading some interesting discussion and praise about this mix on this internet, and damn, on first listen I think it's fantastic. A lot of dancing going on around the house tonight, the kids included. Sorry you have to picture such an ecstatic domestic scene, but it's just that kind of mix. And just like some of his contemporaries in Detroit (right after Fabric 36 I had to play "Renaissance" by T.O.M. Project again), Villalobos makes accessible dancefloor music that stays aggressively weird, with textures and developments that bring names like Can and Prince to mind (Prince especially when he does his weird chant vocals from time to time -- sounds like a cousin to "Controversy"). Incredible release, I'm almost nervous to listen to it again. As I've said before, the Theo Angell disc is one of the best of the year. It's rare that I get into anyone new these days primarily as a singer. I can't think of any right off hand...maybe Antony of the Johnsons? Dan Higgs? It seems most contempo artists that are worth a shit do it with some sort of multifaceted overall sonic achievement, within which the voice is a component, usually holding a place that is more strictly textual or textural than it is musical. But Theo Angell I am getting into as a singer, strictly for the music he makes with his voice, just like I would get into Billie Holiday or Neil Young or whomever. He's a really good songwriter too, which helps, and there is just one gem after another on this record -- from the super-hooky opener "In About A Half An Hour" right into more sweet, desolate, moving, expansive ballads like "Crows Landing," "On The Willow," "Have U Seen The Birds Lately?," "Written With The Word," "Gardenfull," "Aurelia," the near-epic "She King" and the voice-only Geeshie Wiley-does-"Starsailor" closer "Forward With The Veil." Right up there with most of the rare-atmosphere private-press folk we've been hearing in this age of rapid media excavation. And as far as Angell's many contemporaries, well, I actually like Devendra and Joanna, and I think they've made a few fine albums between 'em, but Auraplinth is quite simply a galaxy or two beyond... Killer of Sheep was the 1977 debut film by Charles Burnett. I'm pretty sure that a stronger neo-neo-neo-realist film dealing with American ghetto life has not yet been made. A lot of this film took me by surprise -- without dealing explicitly with any of the usual Hollywood tragedy material (murders, crime, abusive families), it was a lot harsher than I expected. Just the bleakness of vacant lots and dilapidated alleys in cities, not to mention all the slaughterhouse scenes (the main character kills sheep for a living at a meat factory), harshly poetic, almost unbearable. You could say that there isn't a story here, just a series of vignettes, but it made me think of a fairly epic story, how "In 1920, 1 in every 7 farmers was black; in 1982, 1 in every 67 farmers was black." (source) To me, this movie is about the way corporations, through the usual expert 'benign' social engineering, moved Americans off the land and into the city, shifting their social role from localized production and distribution into centralized working and 'earning.' This movie is about that displacement and the ennui and frustration that naturally occur as the old self-empowering ways are forgotten. With all the old blues music on the soundtrack and the scenes of families barely getting by, yet still confronted with ample time to sit around bored and displaced, while the man of the house works not on his own land for his own use but in an impersonal city building where livestock is trucked to in bulk for mass slaughter, made me think of this movie as the last great blues song of the Great Migration or something. It's a heavy piece.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fat Worm of Error "Ambivalence and the Beaker" CDR
Loren Mazzacane Connors "Portrait Of A Soul" mp3s
Guns & Roses "Appetite For Destruction" mp3s
Popol Vuh "Aguirre" mp3s
"Songs of the Humpback Whale" LP
T.O.M. Project "Renaissance" 12-inch on iPod
7-inches by D. Charles Speer, Pink Reason, Brimstone Howl, and Bhob Rainey on iPod
Rusted Shut "Rehab" mp3s
Sun City Girls "Multiple Hallucinations of an Assassin" cassette on iPod

New disc on Yeay! by Fat Worm of Error. I haven't listened to their high-density free-form avant-panic music for a long time but they haven't let up or downshifted one bit. You don't need too many of these albums but this is as good as any other. Tons of pockets of rare tape-churdle and strangely rhythmic Venusian acid-rain-forest activity, punctuated by the occasional gas-face-inducing helium vocal rant. Ha, I'm at work and a contractor putting in new doors upstairs just approached me with a couple questions. I didn't see him coming or have a chance to turn it down and some RIDICULOUS music was going on. He really had no choice but to just ignore it while I quickly showed him what he needed..... this is a great Mazzacane record from the year 2000 that I just came across and had never really heard of before. Having some trouble finding the right volume for it at work, I keep turning it up but it always seems to stay under the threshold. I can still tell that it's really good. He's one of the few musicians in world history who can call an album "Portrait of a Soul" and have it be taken literally.... back home I put on the Humpback Whale LP for the kids because we're checking out a photo spread in National Geographic that shows a whale-song recordist. It's a really weird and trippy record. Some day I will play this for someone and say it's a new Wolf Eyes CDR-only release. They will believe me for at least 45 seconds, and maybe even 5 minutes... the T.O.M. Project is a Detroit techno/house/soul supergroup to the say the least: Theo Parrish, Omar-S (he's released some amazing 12-inches, I love the "Day"/"Night" joint, interview here), and Marcellus Pittman. "Renaissance" is a 12-inch that I downloaded somewhere and it is hands down the fuzoid funk stomper of the year, some real IDM (Instinctual Dance Music, I just made that up)... put a bunch of my favorite recent 7-inches on my iPod and the shuffle is just starting to get to those... the iPod has always emphasized certain albums to the point of annoyance, but now I'm starting to think it's slowly shifting to a new large set of albums to emphasize. If it's true then I'm glad it's finally moving into the 7s because I've got about 30 of 'em on here, and most of my actual vinyl is shelved right now and I'm kind of enjoying the breathing room. Anyway, just today I've heard D. Charles Speer "Past Or Beyond" b/w "Caananite Builder", Pink Reason By A Thread, Brimstone Howl M-60, and Bhob Rainey Two Bites of a Bitter Sweet (from 2006). Another album the pod is starting to favor tonight happens to be Rehab by Rusted Shut. Really is a blitzing album. For all the talk about Flipper-this and brutal-that lately, I'm surprised these guys aren't being talked about more....there was a little flurry of hype when Rehab came out in 2003, and since then nada... the Sun City Girls tape, featuring "Outtakes from the Torch of the Mystics sessions, circa 1987–88," starts with a dusted windswept 12-minute instrumental dirge jammer called "Scarlet Prism Death Dance." The moment a full 7 minutes in when Alan Bishop unleashes an absurd gargling banshee wail for about 20 seconds (and then shuts up and plays for the rest of the track) almost sums up everything about this band, why people hate them, and why they are awesome.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Robedoor "Rancor Keeper" CD
CO-WORKER HIGH SCHOOL MIXTAPE (Hi-C "Leave My Curl Alone"/Technotronic "Move This"/B.G. the Prince of Rap "This Beat Is Hot"/Genesis "Jesus He Knows Me"/Tone-Loc "Wild Thing"/The Clash "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?"/more)
Led Zeppelin "In Through The Out Door" mp3s
Rhythm & Sound s/t mp3s
Rhythm & Sound s/t mp3s (again)
Time-Life Treasury of Christmas Music 2CD
Gianluca Becuzzi & Fabio Orsi "Wildflowers Under the Sofa" CD
Social Junk "Dirty Cloud" CDR
Warmer Milks "Let Your Friends In" CD
Gianluca Becuzzi & Fabio Orsi "Wildflowers Under the Sofa" CD

Good morning Cthulu, chilling with staff on the cover of this new Robedoor CD....and how's the music today? Robedoor, as mentioned just a couple posts earlier, has always done just fine maintaining their established level of aesthetic success, but are their any next levels in their future? In other words, are they gonna pull a Mouthus on us? (cf. Saw a Halo on Load Records.) Weeelll, so far so promising on the first track, we've got the same deep deep drone murk as always but now with a perceptibly new 'windy/stormy' vibe that is definitely Lovecraftian enough. And the bar stays high throughout, with more new territory explored via industrial percussion and subtle low-end keyboard grind.... the last track "Wendigo Psychosis" is a good 'un. (Waitaminnit, what the fuck was that title??).... coworker grew up in Gainesville, FL and he brought in some old mixtapes he made off the radio -- that Hi-C song is hilarious and slammin', I don't remember that one at all -- "Move This" was always my favorite Technotronic song with its odd melancholy wistful feel, great deadpan performance by Ya Kid K -- who the hell is B.G. the Prince of Rap?? Terrible song, dare I say a Snap "Power" ripoff?.... Genesis "Jesus He Knows Me", jesus, this is a terrible song too. I've never heard it before. I can non-ironically appreciate some Phil Collins & 1980s Genesis as much as Panda Bear or anyone else, but FUCK THIS SONG.... "Wild Thing" on the other hand is one of the greatest songs in the history of pop radio. Love the dusted Schooly D feel.... any Led Zeppelin=workplace classic. Totally gross guitar solo on "Fool in the Rain." Played Rhythm & Sound after that and it sounded so good I played half of it again all the way home on the train. It's not only some of the most gorgeous minimal techno this side of Gas, a lot of also works as actual reggae music. Unlike say Pole, who merely organizes sound, sometimes according to dub reggae principles, Rhythm & Sound play music, sometimes dub reggae. At home put on the Time-Life Treasury for the kids. I had been singing my dead-on-as-possible version of "Jingle Bell Rock" all evening during our winter-time cabin-fever-style rough-housing and improvised gymnastics sessions, and they wanted to hear the real thing by Bobby Helms. Other highlights: the definitive "Holly Jolly Christmas" by Burl Ives and "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano, the classic cowboy version of "Frosty the Snowman" by Gene Autry, and Bing Crosby's utterly heartbreaking "I'll Be Home For Christmas," I think it's an anti-WWII protest song. After that and also cool with the kids was the Italian prog/folk/psych thing on Last Visible Dog. (Gianluca Becuzzi & Fabio Orsi. I'll never remember these guys' names.) I'm really starting to like that album, and it definitely gets the Popol Vuh award for this month. Really haunted and lonely folk-psych textures, with a slightly harsh drone edge running underneath.... that Social Junk disc ("Dirty Cloud") got its second or third play, and it's a winner too. The disc runs a little long, but for a noise band I'm impressed with how insistent and focused their rhythms are. Excellent fractured vocal work over the top. Lots of surprising atypical sounds. Turns out they're from Ashland, Kentucky, which is cool too. (Not a big town. I think the Judds were from there.) I would like to hear more of their stuff... and another spin for the sick new Milks CD, that might be it for the night.... (oops, one more bonus spin for the Becuzzi & Orsi, after Angelina came home and wanted to keep it mellow)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Warmer Milks "Let Your Friends In" CD
Brother JT "Sweet Purgatory" advance CDR
Pink Floyd "Animals" mp3s
Burial "Untrue" mp3s
William Basinski "Disintegration Loops #1"

Two long tracks on the new Warmer Milks alb; first one is more of that Radish on Light dirge/doom/punk sickness, but where the songs on that album were very carefully developed, this feels like one big sprawled-out fuck-it-all go-for-broke jam. Very heavy and satistfying, lots of sick singing. The second song is more of a free-form fuck-around, no bombastic dirge is attempted as the band struggles with weird guitar strum applications kept deliberately unfocused. First 'side' is great, second 'side' is more enticing than it sounds like it should be. Interesting quartet lineup too, Turner and Backus from the 'traditional' WM lineup plus Shawn McMillen (Ash Castles on the Ghost Coast, Friday Group, Iron Kite) and Paul Oldham (brother of Will).... the Brother JT thing was supposed to be an 8-inch vinyl EP released by the Summersteps label -- did it ever come out? They sent me this advance CDR of it a long time ago, and it's SO GOOD. I know JT has released several albums over the last few years, and maybe they're all fragile/yearning post-Roky/Velvets-3rd psych-pop bliss as good as this, but it's hard to imagine because the songwriting/performance/recording quality level is very high on these four melancholy dream songs. "It's waiting for me/Sweet purgatory/It's neither here or there/Just in between somewhere." (Oh shit, it did come out back in May 2007! Still available from the Summersteps website.)... Playing Floyd at work, always a choice anyone can agree on. Animals just might be my favorite Gilmour-era Floyd album -- it's got a great 'extended suite' feel.... I'm pretty addicted to this Burial album and I believe the hype. Now that I've listened to it about 6 times, I think I'm even starting to figure out what dubstep is....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Michael Hurley "Ancestral Swamp" mp3s
Joseph Spence "Bahamian Guitarist" mp3s
Grateful Dead "Anthem of the Sun" mp3s
Grateful Dead "Anthem of the Sun" LP
Michael Hurley "Ancestral Swamp" mp3s

This new Michael Hurley album is great -- just him & guitar (or piano), dry, laconic, skeletal, at the same time both nonchalant and mournful. He is getting up there in years, born the same year as Dylan, and as much as I like Modern Times and, say, World Gone Wrong (which is much closer to the sound of Ancestral Swamp), Hurley seems to have found a more casual and naturalistic merger of aging and bardism. It's always fun when one album makes me think of the next one I'm gonna play, and something about the Hurley was reminding me of Joseph Spence, so when it ended I put on Bahamian Guitarist and it seemed like just the next act on the bill at folk night. I mean, of course, they're both older dudes playing a guitar and singing, somewhat playful and light in their approach, the similarities are obvious.... (lessee, Bahamian Guitarist was recorded in 1971, when Spence was 61, and Ancestral Swamp was recorded "over the last seven, eight years", starting right about when Hurley turned 60)..... Anthem of the Sun is sounding better than ever. I always passed on it for Live/Dead and soundboards, because it's the one Dead album all the Siltbreeze fans like me are allowed to like and still be allowed to hate hippies, but I already liked hippies (as long as they're not TOO hippie) and I've always loved the Dead whether they're being noisy or not. Whoah, right now Lesh's bass on "Born Cross-Eyed" is amazing -- sick low end, playing his usual rambling, gutsy, and strangely nimble blues basslines. This mp3 rip sounds great, I've gotta put on my LP and compare! Hmm, it's a 1980s-ish Warner Bros. reissue, sounds pretty similar to the mp3. And finally, while writing the above about Ancestral Swamp while listening to Anthem of the Sun, I got the urge to put it on again next. So that's what I did. Still sounds great -- dig that finger-plucking on "El Dorado"!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Axis Mundi "Dharmic Visions in the Aurora Borealis" CS
Grouper "Cover the Window and the Walls" LP
Disco Inferno "D.I. Go Pop" mp3s
AC/DC "Back in Black" mp3s
AC/DC "Highway to Hell" mp3s
Nico "Desertshore" CD
Labradford "Mi Media Naranja" Maxell dub
Alice in Chains "Jar of Flies" CD
Pink Floyd "Meddle" LP

Axis Mundi is a new group from the Manchester, UK Hearing Aid label collective, a trio of Barry Dean, Pascal Nichols, and Kelly-Jayne Jones. The first two are in Stuckometer (et al), and Ms. Jones is in the great Cooper Jones (you've gotta check out their cassette on Hearing Aid). I have no idea if any of these names mean much to anyone, but for a couple years now the Hearing Aid folks, in various permutations, have been recording and releasing a lot of mostly improvised music in an ESP-Disk-meets-jagged-avant-rock style. It's all pretty good and sometimes great. This tape sits in the pretty good zone. A lot of weird vocals and trippy flute playing get into otherworldly territory, but overall the voyage is a little bumpy and slow. If you're predisposed and patient, you'll enjoy it. Pretty sweet damaged colorful artwork on the sewn pouch this comes in, kind of in a Le Dernier Cri style.... ah, the Grouper album....this thing sold out in about 3 minutes and has been getting plenty of praise and it's all justified. All the sonic promise of her earlier stuff and she's really starting to come into her own as a songwriter.... Disco Inferno is a totally weird British avant-pop-something band that I know very little about -- heard this on vinyl at a friend's place one particularly green night and was kind of baffled/dazzled by it -- hearing an mp3 version at work today, I barely noticed it but it still sounded totally weird. Talk to me in a few months and I might have some idea what's going on with this band... Any and all AC/DC is always a warehouse favorite....okay, maybe nothing after For Those About To Rock...even that album gets a little ponderous....Back in Black is a classic album but it's got about 1/10th the swagger of Highway to Hell. While I'm thinking of it: there was an urban legend at my high school (actually I guess a rural legend, the town population was barely 1000) that when Back in Black came out, the high school basketball team would play "Hell's Bells" over the gymnasium PA for warmups. The ominous bells would toll, and as the first guitar arpeggios started the team would run out from the locker room and do their layup drills and whatnot as the song developed. The Nico and Labradford are also worktime intense/chill standards... and so is Jar of Flies. Such a perfect EP. If only it were longer. If I ever get started on grunge era favorites you'd better look out.... in a Floyd mood back home. I wanted to throw on Animals, but it looks like I don't have that on vinyl anymore, so I shrug and put on Meddle instead. This album bugs me -- it has three awesome songs but the rest are really not good at all. See if you can guess what the three awesome ones are. I'll give you a hint, they're not "A Pillow of Winds," "San Tropez," or "Seamus."

Thursday, December 13, 2007


"40 Favourite Nursery Rhymes 2" CD
"Baby Genius Classics for Intelligence" CD (Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi, Dittersdorf (who??), Schubert, Handel, Praetorius)
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" VHS
"The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas" 2CD

The beast of fatherhood, that is. It's a very cuddly warm and kind beast, but sort of like a cross between a sloth and a silverback gorilla, it's also really powerful and it can turn on you in a heartbeat, like when you come home from a hard day at work and find the ole 5-disc changer filled with no shit-fi and/or psychedelic mind-erasers but THESE kind of joints, and Favourite Nursery Rhymes 2 is playing and my god that's a chirpy disc. By track 31 or so you'll feel like you've been trapped forever in a shopping mall where you would never buy a single thing and the music never stops. The Classics for Intelligence disc came on next and it was much better. It's not so much a mind-eraser as a defragmenter. After that I owed the kids some movie time and the selection was the all-time classic Charlie Brown Christmas on the warbling fuzzy VHS tape I bought for 50 cents last year, around the corner at Magic Video. (No website.) This movie kills me softly in that vintage gently sad C. Schulz manner. The kids giggle at the choice Snoopy slapstick and get up and dance when the Peanuts gang do, but Sally Brown's utterly forlorn trapped-consumer lament goes right over their head: "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share." After all that I put on the Time-Life Treasury, and you know, I take back some of that shit I was saying about how much I love Christmas music earlier. Suddenly hearing the likes of Nat King Cole Slaw and Bing Cherries Crosby smugly chew their way through this mega-orchestral pro-Christ propaganda is rubbing me the wrong way. There's plenty of stuff on here I can hang with though, like "The Chipmunk Song," blues & doowop by Charles Brown, Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, Eva Cassidy (my favorite song on here, "It's Not the Presents Under My Tree (It's Your Presence Right Here Next To Me)"), whatever you call Eartha Kitt doing "Santa Baby" (it's definitely pretty secular), and the amazing prog-pop opus "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake. Shit, I already wrote about this album in Blastitude last year. Hey, at least I KNOW I'm lame...
Swanor/Scraps of Dogs C20 split
Robedoor "Pained Seer" C30
Fucked Up "Hidden World" mp3s
McLusky "The Difference Between You & Me Is That I'm Not On Fire" mp3s
Charlie Parker "Bird at the Hi-Hat" CD

The two tapes are on a new-to-me label from the Bay Area (I think?) called Caligulan. I have not heard of Swanor or Scraps of Dogs, so listened to that one first -- Swanor does fairly run-of-the-mill semi-melodic creepy-soundtrack fare, they could be good but I can't really tell from this release. It IS as good as that KTL3 LP. Scraps of Dogs show more potential with two deeply fuzzed-out horror-movers. Still nothing that, say, Wolf Eyes weren't doing, say, five years ago, but I would check out more, Scraps of Dogs particularly. As for Robedoor, at this point in the season they've pretty much got the Western Conference locked up, but it's still interesting to tune in just to see HOW they win, or if there happens to be a rare upset....after all, "Pained Seer" does seem like a title verging on self-parody, or maybe just continuing in a line of intentional humorousness from such gems as "Wretched Yeti" and "Stoner Reaper". This tape may not be the smoothest game they've played, but they still come away with a victory. Seems more synth/keyboard-heavy than I'm used to from them (but then I'm not really sure what the hell the instrumentation is with Robedoor), the side two jam particularly, built around an excellent doom synth line... okay, okay, here we go: this "game" was tied at "halftime" but in the "second half" they pulled away for another decisive "victory" by breaking out the "doom synth" offense... there, I knew I could maintain this metaphor....jeez, I haven't even watched sports for 20 years... nice packaging on both of these Caligulan releases, BTW, kodak photos as J-cards (gives me a flashback to the early cassette-label days of Celebrate Psi Phenomenon!), spray-painted on the inside, with other nice touches. The Robedoor tape comes with a Magic the Gathering card! (Goofballs.) First time I've actually sat down to listen to Fucked Up "Hidden World" beginning to end....and then I had to leave for an hour after like the second song. (I'm at work.) But the album is so long I still got to hear a nice chunk. It's powerful. The singer has a great voice but it seems to only have one setting. The band chugs along real well with a weird rockabilly twang lurking on the fringes. (Am I crazy? Whatever it is I like it.) Coworker was surprised they were from Canada, he said they had a "Boston sound." Speaking of coworker he plays McLusky a lot, as he did today, and I get a kick out of it. A lot of jokes, like "Note to self! Be erect by half past ten!" and the one I just noticed today for the first time when they sing "Our old singer is a sex criminal" for the last The Charlie Parker disc is another work stand-by, so good, one of the great founts of music, right up there with Coltrane, Shankar, Fahey, etc. This disc is a rough-and-ready live-on-the-radio thing from 1953 and 1954.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Strapping Fieldhands "Wattle & Daub" LP

Side one of The Strapping Fieldhands record sounds better in 2007 then it did in 1997 when I bought it. Of course it sounded real good then too but after free folk and psych rock and various variations thereof have been run into the ground and turned inside out here in the MySpace era it's nice to hear it the way people did it before it got "done". I would play this album for any Guided by Voices fan, and I actually get fairly frequent Butthole Surfers vibes too. "Ben Franklin Airbath" is the hit currently playing on WBLSTD. Side two on the other hand loses me. I remember now that it lost me in '97 and it's losing me again in '07.
Trying to remember stuff from the last couple weeks:

Low "Christmas" mp3s
Phil Spector "A Christmas Gift For You" CD
Vince Guaraldi Trio "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (multiple spins) CD
Knocked Up DVD
Anakrid "UnoDos (Father/Rapture of the Deep)" 2CD
Social Junk "Dirty Cloud" CDR
John White "Mogwash + Balloon Adventure" CD
Vapaa "Hum Hum Hum" CD
Gianluca Becuzzi & Fabio Orsi "Wildflowers Under the Sofa" CD
Son of Earth "Pet" LP
Occasional Detroit Gaybomb LP
William Basinski "Melancholia" mp3sWilliam Basinski "Disintegration Loops" mp3s
Popol Vuh "Aguirre" mp3s
Roxanne Jean Polise "We're Alright" 3" CDR
Katchmare "Acid Test" CDR
Grey Daturas "Dead in the Woods" CD
Temple of Bon Matin "Flower Footed Ghost" CD

I really don't like Christmas itself at all -- I don't like the weather, I usually have a cold, my work gets insanely busy and doesn't let up until at least January 1st, I'm the worst gift-giver in American history -- but I do have a thing for Christmas music. When I first heard Low had a Christmas disc I thought it was a great idea, and now that I've finally heard it, yes, it is, and as usual they don't play it entirely safe. For example they open it up with a couple originals, the Phil Spectorish and surprisingly uptempo Mimi-sung "Just Like Christmas," which is awesome, and the dour Alan-sung "Long Way Around The Sea", a little more predictable but their cover of "Little Drummer Boy" is like washed-out and psychedelic keyboard shoegaze, Mimi's "Blue Christmas" is awesome, they both sing "Silent Night" and of course it's great. As for the Spector and Guaraldi albs, those are mega-staples that I have been known to listen to all year long..... Laughed my ass off at Knocked Up. The plot & motivation stuff was a little contrived and implausible but everything in between was so good, the characterization, the grace notes, the sociological commentary. The scene where Paul Rudd walks outside singing "Happy Birthday" after being called a shitty father makes me choke back tears. Great to see Nick & Bill from Freaks & Geeks, all grown up and repping hard. Holy shit, the bouncer scene! And Leslie Mann turned in the best performance in the whole movie -- as far as uptight power mom characterizations go, 1000 times what Tea Leoni did in Spanglish. (A movie I actually liked, but Leoni was kinda absurd and tone-wrecking).... the Anakrid, at least the Father disc, has been around for a few years, first as a single CD, then as a limited-run LP... it's interesting noise-scapery, with relatively calm psycho-electronics and a surprising 'gamelan' undercurrent in a few places. Not blown away, but a pretty cool 2-disc reissue (Beta-Lactam Ring puts out nice CDs) and I'll get back to you after I check out disc 2. Never heard of Social Junk before, but I think I've heard of the label its on American Grizzly. It's a good disc -- weird stuff powered by driving percussion and aggressive tape loopery, mutant vocals, intangibles... more later?..... the Last Visible Dog label puts out so much stuff and it's amazing how consistently good it is. Of the three in their latest batch, the real standout is the one by the unknown Italians, Gianluca Becuzzi & Fabio Orsi. It reminds me of another amazing disc LVD released by an unknown Italian a few years ago, Hoarse Frenzy by Renato Rinaldi. Slow-developing and calm psych-folk that is pastoral and bucolic on the surface, but burnt around the edges, and when you poke at it, it can give mild electric shocks. I wanted the Vaapa disc to blow me away with its press-sheet comparisons to "early (quiet) Ash Ra Tempel", and it does have that vibe but it doesn't carry the same threat that Ash Ra did, the threat, nay, the implicit certainty that the quiet haunt/haze would soon give way to lightning and thunder and monsoons. The band never really leaves the haze, and sometimes haze alone is not enough. John White is a singer/songwriter who lives in Germany but is from New Zealand. This is the most 'indie rock' CD that LVD has ever released. Extremely pleasant soft melodic balladry that reminds me of some MOR celebrity that Pitchfork writes about whom I can't name because I've never heard his music. Actually almost every song on here reminds me of that 70s radio song that goes "I need you... like the sun needs the rain..." What's that song called?? Yo Soft as Fuck, can you help me? Son of Earth album still rules, so restrained and subdued but constantly threatening to rip at its shackles.... I don't think I can write about the Occasional Detroit Gaybomb LP right now. I do enjoy it but its "crazier than a bag of angel dust," to borrow a phrase from Russell Simmons. It looks great, purple vinyl with no cover, just a plastic sleeve. Label is Isle of Man, run by Gaybomb.... I was joking that William Basinski calling an album "Melancholia" is like Iron Maiden calling an album "Power Metal" or Willie Nelson calling an album "Country Music." I like all the Basinski I've ever heard, including this one, but I still haven't heard anything that tops that very first hour-long Disintegration Loop... was suddenly struck during this listen to Vuh's Aguirre that it's a total German precursor to Gas (Konigsforst, et al), especially the track "Aguirre III". Same massed choral/chordal classical drone shifts on top, same clicky pulse on the bottom. Of course, with the Vuh the pulse is acoustic and not electronic.... Roxanne Jean Polise might tie with Raccoo-oo-oon for 'worst name in underground music', and they both start with "r", huh.... so does Raperies With Draperies but like Bull Tongue said, that is "either the worst or best" name, and I agree. Anyway, Roxanne Jean Polise is now called Warmth, which is a better name -- this 3" CDR (on Apop Records' absurdly packaged petri dish series) was one of the later RJP releases, and it sounds a lot like Warmth, thick slowly massing clouds of soft near-shoegaze noise/sound. His sounds are always ace but I never really feel any direction... better than shitty sounds with too much direction I guess... Katchmare I don't remember much about but it was somewhat intriguing. Kind of a mix of noise/weird/experimental styles, perhaps even all over the place -- I only listened to it on shuffle with 4 other discs so I'll have to get back to you. Kid from somewhere in downstate Illinois, though...fuck, it's hard to write about this many discs.... Grey Daturas I was impressed with. I had heard mixed reports about their live shows -- for an Australian band they have toured in the States quite a bit over the last couple years -- but this disc is heavy in a lot of good ways and it shows a versatility (without being over-eclectic) you don't always get in this milieu. Some of the same thick drug-rock low-end sounds as Bardo Pond, but less single-minded.... the new Temple of Bon Matin has spent a lot of time in the player. It's a really long disc, well over 70 minutes, and every track is about 10-12 minutes long, and they're all really loose, flowing, rickety assemblages, which kind of runs together and perhaps loses steam after awhile, but the feel/vibe/sounds are excellent. Ed Wilcox is a veteran, he knows what he wants, and the first song "Born Down" is an instant roots-psych zoner classic.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Burial "Untrue" mp3s
I'm Not There soundtrack mp3s

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Everyday People - "Life" on WNUR (R&B Flashback show)
Son of Earth - Pet LP
The Geeks - "Too Fat Pig" b/w "Visiting Day At San Quentin"

I drove the car again today and on the way back home from the grocery store a song came on WNUR, a spaced-out soul ballad of 1960s vintage in which basement recording vibes create a haunted fluttering gauze through which celestially glowing wordless vocals shimmer in background harmony and one voice weaves a childlike narrative about the streets of Gary, Indiana. That was where Everyday People were from, and this song, which was called "Life," came out as the B-side of a 45RPM single on Encore Records, not sure what year. A side was "Slipping Into Darkness" -- if that's a cover of the 1971 song by War, I'd put 'em right square in 1972. (The track sounds old.) I called the DJ and he said that hardly anything is known about the group, and only two copies of the record are currently known of, one of which he had just played on the air. Word is that the song may be reissued soon by a well-known digger with a label. Hurry up, label, I'll give you fifteen dollars, that's a small price to pay just to hear this song again... can't find it on the internet... yet... Son of Earth LP has been stuck on the turntable for daily listens, finally replaced by The Geeks 7-inch which I pulled out on a whim. Recorded in like 1980, it sounds even better today than it did last year when it was finally first released by Ss Records.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Metrocide/Pedestrian Deposit split CDR
This is Hell radio show on WNUR
Endless - Stacked Decks CDR
Pandit Pran Nath - India's Master Vocalist mp3s
Grateful Dead - 3/23/75 Kezar Stadium

Had to drive in the car for the first time in weeks and quickly grabbed a couple discs from the 23 Productions label of Madison, Wisconsin. These had recently been unearthed after sitting at the bottom of a 'to be reviewed' mail bin for probably four years. As far as new noise/experimental/underground/drone/psych labels that over-record and over-release floods of short-run product go, 23 has put out a decent share of gems, most notably a good four or five excellent spaced-commune jam discs from the band Davenport aka The Davenport Family, circa 2002 or 2003. Metrocide I think came just before that, the harsh noise project of Davenport/23 ringleader Clay Ruby, but I don't know if harsh noise was really his thing because the project didn't last too long and he has gone on to more psych/jam and maybe black/beard metal territory. His half of the split is good, decent, etc. but really doesn't hold a candle to Pedestrian Deposit, who is a harsh noise lifer and turns in two excellent tracks........on the way back home I was stoked to find that This is Hell was on the radio (WNUR 89.3 FM, Northwestern University), hands down my favorite 'political' radio show of all time. It's more of a 'world systems' show than a 'politics' show, y'see. They were talking to some guy who has written extensively about Nigeria being the next target of imperialist oil/resource wars. I listened for awhile but the greatest world system of all time is music, so I put in the Endless disc, another good one from 23, Endless being a guy, not a band, who is/was also in Davenport. Stacked Decks is an hour-long piece performed live at a gallery or something, on 5 broken turntables with broken records and a broken effects box, no samplers. It's waaaay too long but really in any place has a nice gloomy/dreamy vibe, with little music-box loops that come and go in fields and flurries while evil turntable static constantly threatens to overwhelm... put the iPod on shuffle and it was giving me nonstop noise and punk and I had to chill the kids out so I spun it to the first album that seemed like it might work: India's Master Vocalist by Pandit Pran Nath. It did work, we listened to the whole thing, but Claire was imitating his singing style and I think she was making fun of him because she sounded just like grownups do when they make fun of stuff like non-Western music and free jazz, etcetera. Phil asked what the guy's name was, at least, but then asked "Why does he sing funny?" I told him that it wasn't funny where he was from and that he was singing a prayer. That shut him up! (For about 10 seconds.) The Dead show is the Blues For Allah one in Oakland, CA that they played for Bill Graham's SNACKS benefit, right in the middle of their hiatus. It's a totally killer oddity in which, after a showbiz Bill Graham introduction, they come out (augmented by Lagin and Saunders) in front of 50,000 people and play a progged-out 30-minute suite of the atonal "Allah" riff into a nutzoid/fusoid take on "Stronger Than Dirt" into a drumz section and then back out through more "Dirt" and finally into a wordless and bedraggled doo-wop farewell, the first vocals of the night. The crowd roars and live radio DJs chatter with a wtf glee, and then the Dead come back out and do the usual lame "Johnny B. Goode" encore, and that's it, possibly the shortest set they've ever played, first or second. Point this set out to your average avant-rock/post-punk Dead-curious skeptic, especially if they're into anything prog. Awesome, goofy, ragged, weird, and ultimately laid-back always.

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