Friday, February 15, 2008

Kraftwerk Radio-Activitat
Kraftwerk Trans Europa Express
Magas May I Meet My Accuser
The Move Message to the Country
Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness' First Finale
T. Rex Electric Warrior
Velvet Underground The Quine Tapes (disc 2)
Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um
Chick Corea Now He Sings Now He Sobs
Herbie Hancock Headhunters
Howard Wales and Jerry Garcia Side Trips Vol. 1
Locrian 7"
Billy Bao Fuck Separation 10"
Los Llamarada 7"
Die Kreuzen Cows And Beer 7"
Dave E & the Cool Marriage Counselors 7"
Burning Star Core Body Blues 7"

Never heard of DINOWALRUS before - it came in the mail with a Brooklyn return address, no one-sheet, just a CDR. The band name was kinda goofy and coupled with the crude silkscreen/envelope packaging led me to expect some kind of noisiness. And that is in fact an aspect of their sound, but only one, as they are some kind of groove/shoegaze/New Romantic/experimental hybrid. That might sound amazing to you, or it might sound awkward, and while they do at times hint towards the former, I think a little more often they lean towards the latter. Unsure but intrigued, I'm going to listen some more... After that I went to the iPod to program some workday music and randomly chose Radio-Activitat by Kraftwerk, followed by Trans Europa Express by Kraftwerk, followed by the next 9 albums the thing happened to play, which lasted all day at work and for awhile at home. Apparently they were sorted by how recently they were added, because all of them (except for one) were 1970s rock and jazz that had been added at the same time. Funny because I randomly downloaded three Kraftwerk albums and it turns out they're the German-language versions. I'd rather have 'em in English, just to hear him sing the "Eeeeeven the greatest stars/discover their face in thee looking gloss...." lines alone. No hurry though, because whatever tongue the words happen to be in, the universal language still comes through crystal clear, and that language is non-stop cold-sweet glorious electronic Teutonic funk. Speaking of funk, Magas stopped by a few posts ago and sharebeed us his most recent album May I Meet My Accuser, which turned out to be the only album less than 30 years old that the iPod played today. It's a pretty harsh one - the songs have a similar structure and drive as before, but the synth bass tone is ridiculous, it's on almost every track and it tears the songs/album apart. I'm scared of it and I don't even know what it's gonna sound like next time I listen (BTW the opening instrumental track does not sound like anything I've heard Magas do before, I can't describe it but it's kinda upbeat 70s world music or something, short but really cool).... The Move album is about half-awesome. Absolutely everything that is fantastic about 1970s hard rock power pop is in the heavy yearning and keening first track, "Message From The Country." I honestly couldn't tell you how any of the other songs go, except for "Do Ya" and "California Man," and those are both bonus tracks. Actually I do recall "Ben Crawley Steel Company," just because it's annoying - I love the Wizzard Brew album, but beyond that I never really know how a Roy Wood song is gonna jibe with me - he can be fantastic, but Music Hall and Kitsch keep rearing their head... "Creepin" by Stevie Wonder is so awesome... T. Rex played, I was in and out of the room, co-worker was like "Hey, this song was in Billy Elliot! Great song! Hey, I know this song too! I'm a T. Rex fan! I didn't know it!" Ah, VU Quine Tapes was a nice call, my favorite disc of the three, featuring the great 17-minute "Follow the Leader," versions of "White Light/White Heat," "Venus in Furs," and "Heroin," and then the monumental 38-minute "Sister Ray" - too bad it isn't longer. After the VU came a fusion jazz vortex kicked off by Mingus Ah Um, definitely some fusion jazz but this is a pre-Fusion fusion of Duke Ellington and the Civil Rights Movement and old-time jazz and future jazz and urban blues and juke joint stomp and booze and sweat and last tangos in Paris. Tough act for Chick Corea to follow, especially if he dares to call his album Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (aw Chick can I get you, I mean HIM, a tissue?), but some of this album is pretty great. Roy Haynes on drums helps a lot, and Miroslav Vitous on bass doesn't hurt. The tunes aren't that memorable but the playing really can be, especially when they get quiet and/or avant-garde. Miiiiight not keep this on the iPod though. Herbie Hancock album sounded good... I mean it better sound good, it is after all THE best-selling jazz album of all time, although as a jazz album it is kinda corny - it makes a better funk album, and an even better pop album. I've already got a trusty dollar-bin vinyl of this though, I don't think I'll keep it on the iPod either. Ah, and the Garcia/Wales thing... man, I always like it when Wales sits in with the Dead, but Garcia sitting in with Wales is kinda wack. The playing is strong of course, by the whole band, but there are no tunes and they kinda settle on blues and R&B vamps that are just begging for the multidimensional fluency and bounce of the Dead. Definitely removing this from the iPod... see, I'm not completely brainwashed yet... Not too long ago, in response to their relatively pastoral track on the split cassette with Daleth, I said that I wanted to hear a Locrian recording more like their loud and aggressive live sets, and they've gone and done just that with their 7-inch on the Bloodlust! Private Series, two guitar-driven noise/drone attacks, sewn together by weird tech-metal riffing. Just what the doctor ordered. Side two ends in a seamless lock groove that I listened to for probably a little over two minutes, over at the dryer folding the clothes, spacing off, when I suddenly figured it out and snapped to attention and, I shit you not, whispered out loud: "Lock groove!" I ordered some records from S-S that I'm pretty excited about, and the Billy Bao 10" sounds about exactly how I was hoping it would, pure slow-driving dirge-pummel, two ten-minute tracks, Brainbombs-worthy repetition and the singer has an excellent tone. I like heavy music. Will probably get the LP that just came out. Side one of the Los Llamarada 7-inch reminds me of their LP in that it sounds cool and raw and weird while it's on but after the needle picks up I don't really remember the song at all. Side B on the other hand is great, apparently a Peggy Lee cover that the girl in the band sings and she is very good. Reminds me of the way the Geeks "Too Fat Pig" 7-inch, also on S-S, has a girl singing on the A side and a guy on the flip, except this Llamarada vocal has a cooler soul punk feel, less paranoid and more melancholy, hands down my favorite Llamarada track so far - hell, it's the only one I can remember. Also got the reissue of Cows and Beer by Die Kreuzen ("2007 official reissue 25 years later"), actually my first time ever hearing it (I wasn't "there"), and it's awesome as most of you are probably well aware. I didn't really know what to expect from the Dave E 7" but it was recorded in the 1970s, not too long after the Eels' demise, and to me it picks up right where that band left off. Sure the music is a little mellower (most is), emphasizing the jazz and blues undercurrents that were always in there somewhere, but hey, that is a manic Art Tripp-y toy xylophone banging away through the first song "Searching Through Sears," and that is DAVE E FROM THE ELECTRIC EELS singing, and he's still singing about our modern lives as consumers in a way that is poisoning and pissed-off and funny and perfect. On Side B he does an a capella number called "Love Meant To Die" (complete with hummed guitar riffs, grab your axe and play along) and then spits out another aggro-swing number with band called "Psychology 101". This is my pick of the S-S order. Die Kreuzen and Billy Bao are tied for second. And finally, last Friday at the Burning Star Core show I got his recent 7 on the Hospital label, Body Blues. Anything Yeh does is quality and this is certainly no exception, side A an ugly psychedelic mud-drag and side B a soft space-prog come-down, one of his most overt 1970s moves yet.


Chris said...

Is the Dave E 7-inch on S-S as well? I don't see it on their web site? It might be out of print already...eeek! Dave E 7-inch!! NEED...NOW.

(also, they have a used copy of the Zebra Puke LP in their used section, but it's $30. Curses! Too rich for my blood!)

Larry said...

You gotta get it, you will love it and it might be now or never! It's not on the S-S label, it's on Christmas Pets, which Dave announces as his own label on the "Love Meant To Die" song... yeah, I see it's not on the S-S website but I would send him an e-mail... try Fusetron... good luck "searching.... searching.... SEARCHING THROUGH SEARS"

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