Monday, February 23, 2009


Next time you give Killed By Finnish Hardcore a spin, this band-name translation guide might come in handy (click on the image for a proper view)... nabbed from the Legacy Document blog (see also: Cosmic Hearse) which got it from the Saapasnahkatorni blog...

Might as well check out Joe Carducci's YouTube History of Black Flag, just posted by Arthur Magazine.

This is a nice resource of informed list-serv kudos and general top-of-the-dome nerd-out info on the Kozmigroov subgenre (aka "cosmic groove")... I think a lot of this came from the Drone On list, pre-2000...

I just realized that a little bit of Robert Wyatt shows up somewhere during the Radio Palestine CD on Sublime Frequencies... from Rock Bottom, no less! Kudos to that enterprising Palestinian DJ, and to Alan Bishop for picking up his/her signal, which hopefully hasn't since been bombed into rubble...

Check out the archives of the Collective Voice podcast, specializing in Blastitude-type music, as broadcast 2002-2008 from all the way up in the city of St. John's, NL, Canada....

Oh man, why am I watching Tommy Bolin youtubes tonight? He grew up just 100 miles or so north of where I grew up, so he was always kind of a local hero back there in the Missouri Valley. I remember hanging out in his hometown of Sioux City, Iowa in the late 1980s and seeing posters of him up at bars... yep, feeling the history... wonder if they're still up... his brief career as a journeyman big-leagues rock guitarist may have been something for ole Sewer City but it really wasn't too much to brag about... he died of a multiple drug overdose at 25 and before that his biggest claim to fame was being the second or third replacement guitarist for over-the-hill bands like James Gang and Deep Purple. Of course, there was definitely potential for more... he was a surprisingly balls-out fusion guitarist, as can be heard on Mahavishnu Orchestra drummer Billy Cobham's 1973 solo album Spectrum... unlike John McLaughlin, he wasn't the kind of over-the-top player that could compete with (let alone subdue) the endless wankery of keyboardist Jan Hammer, so the album is no Inner Mounting Flame, but it's still pretty wild. And then there's his biggest solo hit, a song you may have heard as a 'deep cut' on classic rock radio, an unfocused but kinda awesome 9-minute stone groover/fusion fantasia/cautionary tale called "Post Toastee," as in "Don't let your mind post toastee/Like a lot of my friends did." He didn't practice what he preached, but then again maybe he wasn't exactly sure what it meant either.

Here he is not really helping Deep Purple very much... and they do kinda need some help:

He seems to have been better with James Gang, this is at least kinda insane:

(but he can't hold a candle to Walsh):

Here's all 9 minutes of "Post Toastee":

And this is kinda rad, a 1975 clip from a late-night Denver-area show called Rock Talk. Bolin is in Deep Purple at the time and already pretty post toastee, but he seems like a nice dude and handles himself pretty well. Get a load of the other guy on the panel, the one who seems to have walked out of a Will Ferrell movie... I'm talking about the mustache dude who not only is a FLAUTIST, he's the flautist for DAN FOGELBERG....


Seems like Seven Up, the crazed Ash Ra Tempel album they cut with special guest lead singer and fugitive prisoner Timothy Leary (you can read more of the story in Julian Cope's Krautrocksampler or this excellent article), doesn't get raved about quite as much as their other early masterpieces. Maybe no one can get past the creepy factor of Leary coming on like a Mick Jagger wanna-be on Side One, but the band is great, consistently laying down amazing pre-Hawkwind spiked-pint acid pub insanity. I mean of course the cringe factor is there, particularly the rather gropy song "Right Hand Lover," in which Tim is all "I'm a right hand lover/I got a hinge on my thumb/I'll manipulate you baby" -- okay I'll stop. But even if you can't hang with Side One, pull it back out and put on Side Two, a single extended performance of one of the most dazed and zoned ballads in psych rock history, a 20-minute take of their key song "Suche & Liebe" (there's a slightly shorter and also great version on the Schwingungen album). The moment halfway through when Leary's beatific mutterings, buried in echo, suddenly become crystal clear as he intones the phrase "You're so beautiful" in an awestruck whisper... well, it's really a MOMENT, you know?

And as long as we're talking about this sort of thing, I thought I'd throw this in here JUST FOR MEDICINAL POSTERITY, straight from The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook as submitted by Brion Gysin (I haven't made it myself and I'm pretty sure I never will, I don't keep enough canibus in the house): "Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg, 4 average sticks of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon coriander. These should all be pulverized in a mortar. About a handful each of stone dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together. A bunch of canibus sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together. About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient. Obtaining the canibus may present certain difficulties. . . . It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green."

Damn, "Chestnut Mare" by The Byrds... when that chorus kicks in with "I'm going to catch that horse if I can," it's so great that until now I never noticed what he says right after: "And when I do I'll give her my brand," ouch, "And we'll be friends for life/She'll be just like a wife/I'm going to catch that horse if I can." Just like a wife, eh?

Speaking of wives, I already have one but I have still fallen madly in love with 1976 Ann Wilson thanks to this appearance by her band Heart on the Midnight Special from that year. Not too into the band, especially that hairy guy dressed like Luke Skywalker (Star Wars wasn't out yet, I'll give him that), but oh Miss Ann.... her stern-shouldered dress, her hunched stance... I don't know how else to work through this so I'm blogging about it....

And speaking of canibus, here's a repost of the Butthole Surfers Bed-In because everyone in the world should watch this at least once a day.

Take that, Lenono!

Friday, February 20, 2009


Store credit still ruleth (second visit in as many weeks):

DEATH: ...For All The World To See LP (DRAG CITY) This was the record that got me moving, foot into building, cash (er, credit) in hand. You've probably heard about this one... the year is 1975 and, inspired by The Stooges, a black three-piece band in Detroit are inventing punk rock. They wouldn't change their name for Clive Davis and Columbia Records, so we don't find out about their killer music for 33 years. Drag City has just released the 7 songs they wouldn't give to Clive and vinyl has been immediately hard to get. (Apparently they're between represses; this was the store's last copy.) (Update: now on their third pressing.) On first spin it actually seemed a little cleaner and poppier than I expected, with surprise prog leanings as well... I even jotted down that "both the Stooges and the Bad Brains make these guys sound like the Attractions (as in Elvis Costello)," but I quickly shredded the paper that flippancy was written on because this band is truly awesome -- believe the hype. Tons of great hooks, super sharp and mean playing, undeniable heaviness, surprising tempos and changes... not only do they indeed sound like Bad Brains at times, a good three years early (bassist Bobby Hackney's vocals can especially sound like HR), they are simply a great hard rock band as well, three excellent instrumentalists, as heavy and anthemic as Thin Lizzy... and damn near as charismatic... hell, these recordings even beat Jailbreak by a year...

DISAPPEARS: Live Over The Rainbo 10 26 08 CS (PLUS TAPES) I bought everything Reckless had from this new Chicago-based cassette-only label with an eclectic and fresh lineup so far. Disappears is a current Chicago band that I didn't yet know of because I just plain don't go out anymore. I mean, sheez, you have to go to the Rainbo to hear this band? How old do you think I am, 26?? Anyway, the word "shoegaze" was vaguely thrown out there in the store blurb for this tape, but I think it's accurate, and either way lurking underneath is a good old garage pound, bolstering the dreamy elements with taste and strength. The store clerk did tell me Brian Case of 90 Day Men and more recently The Ponies is in this band, so that makes sense.

CHRIS CONNELLY: Lost Episodes CS (PLUS TAPES) I like the idea of an outtakes release for Chris Connelly's The Episodes album, because that's a seriously good record, with extended jammed-out song structures that certainly lend themselves to varied approaches (rather than just getting the song 'right'). And sure enough, this is a cool tape. These versions seem more stripped down than the album... some of them might be Connelly solo, singing and playing guitar (and one song is a vocal a capella). There are also two really good live songs from "the one and only Episodes live show with the full band" (more info about the tape here). Mid-period Tim Buckley-esque is the easy way to describe what Connelly's doing here, but there's something a little more upbeat and hard-driving about Connelly's stuff, less likely to fracture and get lost in halls of mirrors.

THE TRAVELLERS: The Sound of Travellers CS (PLUS TAPES) Not entirely sure about this one... it looks cool, a Sublime Frequencies-worthy groovy-60s mod-rock band from Indonesia or something (Singapore to be exact), but so far the music seems a little on the elevator muzak side, string-laden with Herb Alpert-style trumpet. Sure it has a nice vibe and if it was playing in a grocery store it would be dreamy but I don't really get a 'real band' feeling, more like it was put together by cigar-chompers and studio lackeys to be thrift-scored years later. There's certainly far worse thrift-scores to be scored, don't get me wrong... it really is a pleasant listen, inhabiting that languid lotus-land muzak zone where everything's gonna be alright.... everything's gonna be alright.... no woman, no cr -- wait, where am I?

FUNKADELIC s/t LP (WESTBOUND) Of course I already have this on CD (I even have it on cassette) but when I saw this distinctly 'VG-' original vinyl copy at Reckless for a mere $19.99 I had to pick it up. Just imagining the way Funkadelic sounds on original vinyl gives me shivers, all cloudy, crackling & popping, perfect vintage. And, for as many times as I've listened to it over the years, this album still threw me for a loop when I spun it tonight... not so much a collection of songs as a collection of rituals, heavy chants and exquisitely slow grooves and gutbucket riffs that pile up and gain momentum and swirl around the room like ghosts.

Maximum Rocknroll #310 (The Health Issue) After completely ignoring Maximum Rocknroll for basically all my life, over the last year I keep finding myself buying new issues off of the newstand. I don't know... at $4 the price is right, there always seems to be at least one band/person mentioned on the cover I'd really like to read an interview with (Clockcleaner, Ray Pettibon, Billy Bao, stuff like that), and in this day and age where deep music zines are hardly ever printed on paper, all of a sudden MRR really stands out for being incredibly packed with opinion, ideas, scenes, addresses, you know, culture. Sure, I don't agree with it or care about it all, but so what? I just like the fact that it takes me a couple weeks to get through the columns section alone. Anyway... this time it's a themed issue, the health issue, so you've got all kinds of random real-people stories like getting a vasectomy, being a nursing school dropout, dealing with herpes, not having health insurance (of course), and lots more. This is also the issue with all the staff's year-end record/band/show roundups, so that's cool too. Lots of Sex/Vid mentions.

AND POST-RECKLESS, a theme emerges:
"Great Weird Black Music, Ancient To The Future"

After getting through the Reckless pile with its Death and Funkadelic, I felt the urge to follow up with another recent archival 1970s record, the one and only Chaos (1978-1986) by Wicked Witch. These are recordings by one Richard Simms, a resident not of Detroit but the original Chocolate City, Washington DC, and this is some loose, murky, and funky mutant machine disco with grunting grooves and over-the-top one-man orchestrations. Not necessarily strong in the tunes department but definitely a missing link between P-Funk and 1980s developments like Prince and Cybotron. Things get really weird, and a little dodgy, when he goes into a full-on Narada Michael Walden-era Mahavishnu Orchestra impersonation, and even weirder when he basically pulls it off. If you think Funkadelic got just a little slick in 1978 with One Nation Under A Groove, don't worry, Wicked Witch was handling things in the 'wrong' department..

After this craziness, I figured I was finally ready to hear Chicago's own ONO for the first time. I was wrong, nothing gets you ready to hear ONO. I had only recently heard about these guys for the very first time when Joe Carducci was in town to read from his latest book Enter Naomi. Before the reading started, a couple striking dudes (big, goofy, dreadlocks, sunglasses) showed up who clearly went back with Carducci and hadn't seen him in awhile. Carducci turned to a page in his book and they all looked at it and chuckled. During the Q&A after the reading, he mentioned that these two were in the band ONO, and had been on his record label Thermidor in the 1980s. The page they had looked at featured a reproduction of their original promo glossy. Checking it out later at home, that picture made me expect something kind of art-damaged and new-wave, and Carducci called them a "non-rock art group" in Rock and the Pop Narcotic. Well, tonight I played their debut album Machines That Kill People, and uh, they sure as hell don't sound like Depeche Mode -- this non-rock art is aggressively spaced-out electronic ritual, with off-kilter drum machines snapping haphazardly, mutant sax caterwauling in some far-off room, sharp but inscrutable guitar scrape, surprisingly heavy low-end surges from the non-rhythm non-section, and wow, the singing of Travis (just Travis, the guy with the dreadlocks)... he's all over the place, from Paul Robeson to Jim Morrison to, I don't know, Robby the Robot? Crazy band. Go here for a great article on 'em from the great Roctober magazine.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Got some store credit at Reckless....

THE MIDDLE CLASS: Out Of Vogue 7" (FRONTIER) Thought it would be fun to buy this reissue of a classic for $4.99... and it has been. It is known by many as the first HC record... I guess it's either this one or Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown 7", which is listed with an October 1978 release date at, but no one seems to know the month in '78 that Out of Vogue came out. This article says that "Out of Vogue was released concurrently with Black Flag's Nervous Breakdown seven-inch in January 1979", which on the surface would be incorrect but may be pretty accurate in an 'entering the collective unconscious' kind of way. Regardless, Out of Vogue really is a monster record. Unlike Flag, you can hear some new wave elements in there (that apparently came to the fore with later releases, none of which I've heard), but the tempo/delivery/attitude are just nuts. Drummer Bruce Atta really drives these tunes.

MI AMI: Ark of the Covenant 12" (LOVERS ROCK) Side A is a ripping and tearing uptempo number that is not on their excellent full-length debut Watersports. By the end it cools down a little with a roaming bassline and spacy guitars, and this is the vibe that is continued for the "version" on Side B. I'm as on the fence as anybody when it comes to the wild shrieking and pleading falsetto vocals, but you gotta applaud him for sheer boldness, and I am consistently knocked out by what all three members do instrumentally, taking some trendy influences like dub, dance, punk, etc. and making something deep, brooding, and challenging, and therefore not trendy at all.

ROYAL TRUX: Twin Infinitives 2LP reissue (DRAG CITY) Oh man. Throughout the 1990s when I was doing a lot more actual record digging, an original vinyl copy of this was high on the ol' want list. It was probably the Forced Exposure review that made it so desirable, especially after buying the CD reissue -- not only did the sounds live up to the review, but the artwork clearly had to be experienced at LP gatefold scale... that stark black & white cover that folded out into a band portrait, Neil/Jennifer, man/woman, yin/yang, twin infinitives, and then on the inside foldout a huge photo/art collage, sorta like the one on the back of There's A Riot Goin' On mixed with like ancient and/or futuristic hieroglyphics... but as I often say about various records, none of it would matter if wasn't for the sounds, and these sounds were about as baffling and unpinnable as rock music got after Trout Mask Replica... I'm not going to try to explain it, but I will quote Neil Hagerty himself on the process: "I took all the tapes I had: rehearsals, studio stuff that survived, other random shit like shortwave recording etc and cut that together in a long collage. Then I broke that into short segments arbitrarily, about the length of a good rock song. We dumped those segments onto multitrack, called them songs, and just started putting little patchwork bits here and there for the next year and a half or whatever it was." Right on, and now that Drag City has reissued the thing on double vinyl in all its original gatefolded glory, I gotta say the sonics really do hold up. Side A has a bunch of short songs -- the first one "Solid Gold Tooth" is more heraldic and incantatory than likeable, but then comes "Ice Cream" and "Jet Pet" which are the two greatest songs on the album. The last two "RTX-USA" and "Kool Down Wheels" have incredible titles and sound plenty kool while listening (I just checked) but are somehow consistently impossible to remember, not because they are forgettable, but because of the dream-state fervor of creation that Hagerty alludes to in his production notes. Side B starts with another classic, the third greatest song on the album, and the first greatest manifesto on the album, "Chances Are The Comets In Our Future." (I always loved the line "Our home is everywhere we've been.") Great vocals by Herrema, on this song and "Ice Cream," in a sweeter non-growling style that she seemed to have mostly ditched in later years. Side B is rounded out by "Yin Jim Versus The Vomit Creature" and "Osiris," more incredible titles, also completely immemorable dream surge action. Side three really lays it on the line with a side-longer called "Edge of the Ape Oven," and the band comes up aces -- Trux could indeed jam extendo, though it's something they haven't done too much of during their career as a whole. (The somewhat overlooked Hand of Glory notwithstanding.) Finally, side four mirrors side one by ending the album with a handful of short tracks, again all with incredible rock titles: "Florida Avenue Theme," "Lick My Boots," "Glitterburst," "Funky Son," "Ratcreeps," "NY Avenue Bridge." Guess what, I can't put my finger on anything about any of these songs either but, like the rest of the album, they sound amazing when you're listening (I just checked).

YAHOWA 13: Feather of Wisdom LP (PHOENIX) Being the furtive owner of quasi-illegal downloads of the entire 13-disc God and Hair box set, I didn't think I needed any more Yahowa music in my life. However, with credit in my pocket, this new LP seemed worth it just for the way the silkscreened sleeve looked and felt. Also, and perhaps more importantly, I had heard that it was just two side-long jams from a November 2007 reunion gig in San Francisco, and one thing I have a Carduccian appreciation for about the Yahowa music is that, from the Spirit of '76 to Yahowa 13 to Fire, Water, Air all the way up to this LP a good 30 years later, it has always been made by the same core power trio: Djin on guitar, Sunflower on bass, and Octavius on drums. That, and their total commitment to improvisation, that is, to the jam. This show/LP opens with some atmospheric chanting and gong rolls which lead into the familiar extended oozing psychedelic death-trip crud that only these three can lay down. I gotta say they sound as dark, as weird, and as crude as ever, and still with that driving garage/soul undercurrent.

GROUP BOMBINO: Guitars From Agadez Vol. 2 LP (SUBLIME FREQUENCIES) Didn't even hesitate to get this one despite the 23.99 price tag. Well worth it, I say... another electric guitar band in that loping Tuareg style, as heard from Group Inerane on SF's Guitars From Agadez Vol. 1 release. This time, however, side one is all-acoustic, known as the "dry guitar" style, and it's really nice... the soulful, grooving, and propulsive style certainly still comes through... but when the band plays electric on the flip side, they are next-level, with a great driving machine edge.

IRMA THOMAS: Sings LP (CHANGE) Oh man, what a great record. I had read about her but I really hadn't heard her music until this grey-area reissue album came out and people were raving about it. Now I am too -- I can't get these songs out of my head, especially "Somebody Told You" with its absolutely slamming verse/chorus: "Somebody told you I was running around/Somebody said with Mr. Brown across town/If ya don't see sharp ya might be flat/It's always somebody sayin this, somebody sayin that but never a fact." Then "Mrs. Brown across town" shows up on "I Done Got Over"... this time Irma is the one getting run around on, and it's more of a mid-tempo aching ballad. Or how about the slow-burning "It's Raining" and "Ruler Of My Heart"? Apparently Otis R. adapted the latter for his "Pain In My Heart" but I've forgotten all about that now that I've heard this... man, the way she sings "Make me a queen/Happy again/Hear my cry/Please, my king"... whoah. Or how about the male background vocals on "You Were Here," the tuff-as-nails way they sing the title and then actually go "Diddy-loo-bop, doo-bop, doo-bop, doo-bop"... anyway, every song on this record is truly great and I love them more every time I play it. (And hey, here's an interview with her by John Sinclair himself.)


Thursday, February 12, 2009


At BLASTITUDE.COM. Thanks for your patience. Really great articles by Derek Monypeny (Morocco Tour Diary), Chris Sienko (Complete Rahsaan Roland Kirk LP Guide), and Tony Rettman (Tribute to George Carlin). Carlin really was the best. Buncha reviews by me but so what. Today's rulers: Wolf Eyes Dead Hills, John Fahey Days Have Gone By, and Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman. Bummed about Lux Interior. Have a good one, more regular updates coming soon here on the blog.

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