Thursday, November 25, 2010

PETER "SLEAZY" CHRISTOPHERSON 1955-2010 Nice tributes at Brainwashed, and Holy Warbles posted a great early pic and YouTube.

ENO STILL SMART Great insight about improvised music by Brian Eno in his recent interview with Pitchfork: "I think the other thing that's important is getting to a place, which very, very rarely happens with improvising groups, where somebody can decide not to play for a while. You watch any group of musicians improvising together and they nearly all play nearly all the time. In fact I often say that the biggest difference between classical music and everything else is that classical musicians sometimes shut up because they're told to, because the score tells them to. Whereas any music that's sort of based on folk or jazz, everybody plays all the time." --

MORTON FELDMAN String Quartet 2 (MODE) Listened to maybe half of this at work, in other words a mere 3 hours. One delivery driver who stopped by thought it was coming from the mail machine, and didn't even seem to think that was weird.
D'ANGELO Voodoo (VIRGIN) That guy from Time Magazine who said each song is like a cat waking up was really onto something.
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE There's A Riot Goin' On (EPIC) After D'Angelo I had to go back to the source.
HARRY BERTOIA Space Voyage / Echoes Of Other Times (SONAMBIENT 1023)
HARRY BERTOIA Swift Sounds / Phosphorescence (SONAMBIENT 1024) Thanks to Holy Warbles.
BILLY BAO May 08 (PARTS UNKNOWN) Side A maybe not up there with previous releases Fuck Separation and Dialectics Of Shit but I like the side-long Side B cut quite a bit. Intense cover design. It appears that all Billy Bao releases can be downloaded at
OMAR SOULEYMAN Dabke 2020 (Folk And Pop Sounds Of Syria) (SUBLIME FREQUENCIES) Every album is very heavy. As I've said before, keyboardist Rizan Sa'id gets massive credit for this.
INGRAM MARSHALL Fog Tropes/Gradual Requiem/Gambuh 1 (NEW ALBION) A nice continuation from the Feldman and Bertoia, though maybe not as well known as either of them... "Fog Tropes" is a haunting and beautiful 1982 masterwork "for brass sextet and tape"...
ERIC COPELAND Hermaphrodite (POST PRESENT MEDIUM) Interesting & weirdly grooving 2007 solo album from member of Black Dice... what the hell, maybe this fits in with Feldman/Bertoia/Marshall as the latest in modern composition from the Eastern Seaboard... or maybe it's more of a Byrne/Eno kind of thing this time, especially now that more African and Eastern reissues than ever are spinning on turntables in NYC lofts.
BRAINBOMBS Singles Compilation (LOAD) Finally an actual record... everything else was on MP3... this is the notorious Swedish band's earliest stuff, from 1986 to about 1989, when they released three or four 7-inches and appeared on some compilations. As I listen, I'm trying to decide who was better at late-80s bugle-and-noise bludgeon rock, the Brainbombs or America's own The Cows. Both bands started around the same time, and both have a remarkably similar approach, even though (I'm going to go ahead and assume that) the bands had never heard each other. Having seen the Cows play a show four different times, I can vouch that they could be a devastating live band. I've never seen the Brainbombs live (which makes most of us), but the recorded evidence here suggests that they could be pretty great at it as well. And, throughout their career, their recordings seem better and more natural than the Cows' ever did. I love a lot of songs on Cows records, of which I have like 5, but really all of their albums sound kind of terrible, as they never really figured out to record and master their gargantuan and grotesque live sound. (Their best album was their last one, Sorry In Pig Minor, on which they finally stopped caring about what they sounded like live and had producer King Buzzo encouraging their mischevious tendencies.) So, Brainbombs win on record, but I have to wonder if their vocalist gives off even half of the all-around entertainment value that the Cows' Shannon Selberg did. For all of his implied misanthropy, there was something playful about Selberg, including not only his well-done prop comedy but also his sly lyrics and the deceptively melodic way that he used his non-voice. The Brainbombs, of course, are funny in a different way that is more blunt and horrible. Either way, the Cows never did make a top-to-bottom album as good as Urge To Kill, the other Load reissue of a Brainbombs album, which I'm going to play next.

HERE'S A COUPLE FOR THE "MIDDLE 40" Ah, the Shadoks label of Germany, well known for their catalogue of what seems like over 100 reissues of different unknown 1970s progressive rock albums, not to mention their $43 list price for a single 12" vinyl record. They have reissued some records I truly love, like all-time favorites Rayne s/t and Africa by Amanaz, as well as Witch Lazy Bones!!, the stuff by Bunalim . . . Los Blops . . . Pete Fine . . . Terje, Jesper & Joachim . . . and surely more, but most of it I haven't heard, and most of it I've always suspected as being just decent, okay, middle-of-the-road... certainly of automatic interest due to one obscuro-European, South American, or African heritage or another, certainly filled with fine mild-progressive pop-folk-rock instrumental interplay, which is certainly in the service of catchy songs (or at least songs that sound like catchy songs even though they are not actually catchy songs). It's all fine but it's also often rather beige and gets buried under all the various layers of inoffensive pop-culture history, mostly with good reason. And that is mostly the case with this latest batch of Shadoks reissues. Three of them are by mild-progressive groups from turn-of-the-60s Iceland. The only real heavy group among them is called Odmenn, and Shadoks has reissued their first and only album, a self-titled 1970 double LP (list price $55). The two other Icelandic groups being reissued are Svanfridur and Trubrot, both of which sounded interesting and pleasantly rocking while on, and both of which I remember very little about, except that Trubrot had a somewhat charismatic lady singer named Shady Owens... but I only know that from looking at her picture in the high-quality booklet, not so much from actually listening to the music... I don't remember the Odmenn too well either, but it was my favorite and the only one I'd recommend to the serious archivists. We also received a new Shadoks reissue CD called The Cooperville Times by the South African duo of John & Philipa Cooper, which I thought would be yet a fourth nice-but-uninteresting slice of late-1960s progressive pop (I don't even like the Blossom Toes that much, why would I like a second-tier Blossom Toes?), but the South Africa origin gave it a little more intrigue (see what I mean... even when the music is mediocre, Shadoks is great from a multi-cultural perspective), and then upon actually playing the thing, it almost immediately won me over all the way with its gentle but firm and just slightly haunted folk-pop vintage, particularly on Track 3 "I'll Be More Than Satisfied," a John Phillips imitation so nice that it's almost as good as listening to John Phillips himself, with the added bonus of knowing that the singer/songwriter is, unlike John Phillips, probably not an incest-committing junkie headcase. (It is a rather quirky coincidence that this duo is called John & Philipa though, isn't it?)

1. CELEBRATION "I Will Not Fall"
2. CRAZY DREAMS BAND "Feels So Good"
3. KURT VILE "He's Alright"
4. THE BREEDERS "New Year"
5. EYEHATEGOD "30$ Bag"
6. WELTON IRIE & SOUND DIMENSION "Chase Them (ver.)"
7. FREE "I'll Be Creepin'"
8. LONE RANGER "Barnabas Collins"
9. LOW THREAT PROFILE "Time For Rebirth"
10. THE NECROS "IQ 32"
11. U.S. GIRLS "Turnaround Time"
12. WILLIE LANE "Hill Top Lane"
13. ALTON ELLIS "Live And Learn"
15. THE CLEAN "Hold On To The Rail"
16. FEEDTIME "Ha Ha"
17. GROUPER "Hollow Press"
18. KEITH HUDSON "I'm Alright (Version)"
19. MECHT MENSCH "Acceptance"
20. NAMELEZZ PROJEKT "Obscure Impulses"
21. SARCOFAGO "Satanic Lust"
22. SCISSOR GIRLS "A Dedication To Cronies And Goats"
24. BARRY BROWN "Two House Department"
25. ERNIE BARTON "She's Gone Away"
26. BLACK SABBATH "Tomorrow's Dream" live 1972
27. BLUE OYSTER CULT "True Confessions"
28. COLOR DREAM "Untitled" (from Reminisce)
29. CURSED BIRD "A Page Of Madness (1926)"
30. DIM STARS "Monkey"
32. THE GAYLADS "It's Hard To Confess"
33. GENE SIMMONS "Drinkin' Wine"
35. HAYDEN THOMPSON "Love My Baby"
37. JAY TEES & BRENTFORD ROCKERS "Buck Town Version"
38. KURT VILE & THE VIOLATORS "Hunchy's Back"
39. LAUREL AITKEN "Mas Charlie"
40. LUNGFISH "Cleaner Than Your Surroundings"
41. MADBALL "Discriminate Me"
43. NO BALLS "Forgetting To Suppress It"
44. PETER GREEN "Slabo Day"
45. RANK/XEROX "Basement Furniture"
46. ROY MONTGOMERY "Fantasia On A Theme By Sandy Bull (Slight Return)"
47. SCORPIONS "We'll Burn The Sky"
48. SICK LLAMA "untitled #8 from Put Down"
49. SILICON TEENS "Memphis, Tennessee"
50. SLICES "Medusa"
51. SUN CITY GIRLS "Voice Of America #3"
52. SWELL MAPS "H.S. Art"
53. THE THREE TOPS "Do It Right"
54. U ROY "Train From The West"
55. WARREN SMITH "Ubangi Stomp"
56. AGNOSTIC FRONT "No One Rules"
58. THE BATS "Made Up In Blue"
59. BERNARD FEVRE "Impressionism"
60. BIRDS OF MAYA "Ready To Howl"
61. BLACK DEVIL "No Regrets"
62. BLIGHT "Real World"
63. BO ANDERS PERSSON "Proteinimperialism"
64. BRETT FAVRE "[Side A of The Underlying Focus Upon Single Negative Entities]"
65. BURMESE "Only The Good Die"
66. CARAVAN "Golf Girl"
67. EARLY B "History Of Jamaica"
68. EDWIN BRUCE "Rock Boppin' Baby"
69. FAUST "Untitled - all on saxes"
70. FIRE ENGINES "Discord"
71. FONDATION "Quelque Part"
72. FOR AGAINST "Shine"
73. FUNGUS BRAINS "Hairbrush"
74. GILA "This Morning"
75. THE GLADIATORS "Don't Fool The Young Gal"
76. GLEN BROWN/KING TUBBY "Termination Dub"
77. GONE "Insidious Distraction"
78. GRASS WIDOW "To Where"
79. IKE & THE CRYSTALITES "Ilya Kuryakin"
80. THE INNER SPACE "Agilok & Blubbo"
81. J.F.A. "Count"
82. JAKOB OLAUSSON "Cornered In Your Circle"
83. JIM FERRARO "Remote Control Under The Couch"
84. JOHN TERLAZZO "Lookin' For Love (A Vision Of Love Lost)"
85. JOY DIVISION "Atrocity Exhibition"
86. KAREN DALTON "Little Bit Of Rain"
88. LES VAMPYRETTES "Biomutanten"
90. THE MEATMEN "Snuff 'Em"
91. MICHAEL HOENIG "Departure From The Northern Wasteland"
92. MAX ROMEO "The Clock"
93. MOUNT CARMEL "Hear Me Callin'"
95. NICODEMUS "Dog Better Than Gun"
96. THE NORMAL "T.V. O.D."
97. ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER "[Side A of Ruined Lives]"
98. PEAKING LIGHTS "[untitled from Space Primitive]"
99. THE PIONEERS "Long Shot (Buss Me Bet)"
100. RANGDA "Waldorf Hysteria"

CHANTAL & BABETTE But seriously, I'd like to seriously recommend three films made by filmmaker Chantal Akerman in collaboration with cinematographer Babette Mongolte: La Chambre (1971), Hotel Monterey (1972), and News From Home (1977). All three were filmed in New York City while the Poland-born Belgium-raised Akerman was living there, and they make up Disc One of her recent Criterion Eclipse Series 3-DVD set. I had never seen them before and I don't think I even knew about them, but as a trilogy I actually prefer them to the (still great) Akerman/Mongolte masterpiece Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, 201 minutes). If anything, these three films are documentaries... or are they memoirs? Long-form poems? Dramatic ellipses? Either way, if you've got the time (161 minutes total), watch all three in a row... you'll know it was all worth it when you reach the 10-minute tracking-then-stationary shot that closes News From Home, having gone from chamber to chambers to hallways to streets and finally the great outdoors (without leaving New York City). I would also highly recommend watching the first two as they were released (and presented on this set), without any sound. There's a 7-minute clip of Hotel Monterey on YouTube, but I don't wanna link to it because the uploader added some sensitive and austere piano music... perfect, of course, for the lingering shots of beautiful unoccupied furniture, but totally unfortunate when one has already seen the much more powerful silent version. So don't go to YouTube, just get hold of the Criterion, buy it, rent it, stream it, whatever, the important thing is WATCH IT.

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