Saturday, December 31, 2016

(click on song title for tune, for the most part... & have a Happy New Year)

1st Set
TAPPA ZUKIE "Cool This Dub" (^total coincidence)
LONE RANGER & WELTON IRIE "Chase Them Crazy" (STUDIO 1) (horn riff is my theme music 2010-present)
JOE GIBBS "Rainy Night In Georgia Version" (GREENSLEEVES)
LEE PERRY "Chicken Scratch"
U ROY & PETER TOSH "(Earth's) Rightful Ruler" (TROJAN)
BLACK SHEEP "Black With N.V. (No Vision)" (MERCURY)
NAS "Memory Lane" (COLUMBIA)
GRATEFUL DEAD "Rhythm Devils" (ARISTA) & ROGER DAVY "Corail Dans La Mer De Tranquillité" (DISQUES MAGELLAN) played at the same time... try it, it's awesome
LE FORTE FOUR "Meanwhile Back at the Tulip Boat, Stinky and Gus Make Warplanes" (HARBINGER SOUND)

2nd Set
HUSKER DU "Dreams Reoccurring" (SST)
FRANK SCHRODER "Ohne Titel (1983-18) (CACHE CACHE)
FIRE, WATER, AIR "Movin' On"
C.O.B. "When He Came Home"

(^and now we bid you goodnight)



I was talking about Alex Chilton and the Box Tops a few posts almost a year ago, and how I've gotten re-obsessed with Memphis music, so this is a great time for Light in the Attic to put out the Christopher Idylls record by Gimmer Nicholson. I hadn't heard of him before either, but he was a guitarist who quietly played around the Memphis scene throughout the 1960s (he's not mentioned in the text of Robert Gordon's essential It Came From Memphis, but he is in a photo), and recorded this album of solo instrumentals in 1968 at Ardent Studios, where Big Star would record their masterpieces a couple years later. You might hear "late 1960s solo guitar instrumental" and think "John Fahey," as that is our blessing and curse in this day and age, but Christopher Idylls is a subtly different animal. For one, the guitars are layered, with what sounds like two or three takes going on at all times, one of them using a delay pedal, which album producer/engineer Terry Manning calls "one of the first uses of the electronic repeat as part of the music." Also, these Idylls are more influenced by British music (ancient British folk and classical music as filtered through then-recent British Invasion ballads) than by Fahey's Americana (despite Nicholson being from Memphis). The liner notes do describe Nicholson being in attendance when Fahey played a gig in Memphis, "doing his Blind Joe Death routine," complete with sunglasses and other affectations, which seemed to inspire Nicholson to go in a different direction.   The result was this unique and beautiful album, but it was not to be released at the time. The Ardent label had only released 45s up to this point, and studio/label head John Fry had cold feet about their first long-playing release being an album of calm, spiritual, and potentially unmarketable folk guitar instrumentals. Nicholson himself also balked, saying he didn't like the mix, and didn't like the album cover. It seems that he was the private type, inherently uncomfortable with the idea of putting his music out into the public sphere. Nonetheless, even without being released, it still made a significant subliminal ripple throughout the world of rock music. The youthful Ardent hangers-on in Big Star were clearly influenced by it, learning ways to make their already spiritual power pop chord changes even more church-of-guitar cathedralic; Idylls showed them spaces within their songs where the chords could truly ring out. It also seems to have had quite an impact on none other than Jimmy Page. Terry Manning tells a story recently shared by the Dangerous Minds website: "In April 1970, Jimmy Page was in Memphis for a Led Zeppelin gig, and after the show, Page and his girlfriend spent the evening hanging out at Manning's apartment. Joined by Chris Bell, the four drank wine and listened to the Gimmer Nicholson album over and over again." Sounds like a good hang. Although the writing sessions for the already increasingly acoustic Led Zeppelin III were finished at the time, its recording sessions started just one month later, and when they were finished Page brought the tapes back to Memphis and Ardent in August so that Manning could mix and master. So, even without being released, the album was still a smooth jewelled pebble that sent out long slow ripples that continue to lap onto the shore of musical consciousness every decade or so. (P.S. Talk about ripples, Terry Manning was also the engineer, and Ardent the studio, for ZZ Top's entire run of great albums, starting with mixing and overdubs on Tres Hombres all the way through Eliminator. In fact, Billy Gibbons and Terry Manning are really the only two musicians you hear on Eliminator; if I'm not mistaken, Frank Beard doesn't play on the album at all. Manning, who doesn't have a beard either, did all the drum programming and overdubs, and even played a lot of the bass. This info and more can be gleaned from this great proto-Reddit Terry Manning AMA thread that went down on the Pro Sound Web Forum in 2005:,5689.0.html.)

Friday, December 30, 2016


MARIELLE V JAKOBSONS was (is?) in the band Date Palms who I'm wondering if I ever actually heard. I remember people talking about them, and I see they released a record on Thrill Jockey in 2013. Ms. Jakobsons has just released this 2016 solo record Star Core on the same label. At first glance I might call it a synth record, as that seems to be the basis of the sound, and the sci-fi atmosphere is thick, but it's thankfully not that simple. Much more is going on; no drums or anything, but gentle heavy bass guitar on each track, Far East strings and/or melodies sprinkled throughout, occasional ethereal vocals that threaten to pull the whole thing into a dream pop category, all hovering at a near-precise midpoint between light and dark, earth and space, etc. Another winner from Thrill Jockey, who've been at it for almost 25 years now, still releasing more and more diverse and interesting stuff at such a high rate that I simply can't keep up. Take just this Jakobson record and add one more like the Circuit des Yeux record from last year; I can barely process that much heaviness in so short of time; I need years for these two records, let alone all the other stuff Thrill Jockey has put out like Rhyton, Jackie Lynn, Oozing Wound, Thalia Zedek Band, Mary Lattimore & Jeff Ziegler, Kid Millions, Lightning Bolt, and that's just in the last 2 years... (P.S. I just used the popular streaming service Spotify to listen to the Date Palms release on Thrill Jockey. It's called The Dusted Sessions, and to me it sounds a lot like the Marielle Jakobsons solo record... all the elements described above are already in place. I'm not sure how many others are involved, and what they might be doing, but it would seem to be Jakobsons's vision.)

POSTSCRIPT: I'm always picking up the Chicago Reader when it comes out on Thursdays and finding out about something amazing showing or playing in town that very weekend, in just 24 to 48 hours... how am I gonna get the momentum, not to mention childcare, to go to something like that in some far corner of the city? That happened last weekend when I read about this year's iteration of the EYEWORKS FESTIVAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ANIMATION. Their feature presentation was a 74-minute 1979 animated film called Habfurdo by Kovasznay Gyory. You can watch it without subtitles on YouTube (see below), and it's a dazzling, crowded, always evolving vision of a rather simple Hungarian big-city love triangle, so simple that it's confusing and Fellini-esque as your eye keeps following the dazzling animated psychedelic design tangents instead of what the characters are saying or doing. The Eyeworks Festival also showed a couple of really nice-looking shorts programs, but alas it only ran for two days and I missed it all. They do have a really cool tumblr though, and maybe I can plan better next year.

And while we're still in the 'eyeball kicks' section, I don't think we've officially recommended the new ROBERT BEATTY book Floodgate Companion, as beautifully published by Floating World Comics. "Otherworldly" doesn't even come close as you turn the pages and go through portal after portal, many of them playful and beautiful, harshness brief and intermittent, but weirdness constant. Although, I could swear Belial from Basket Case (d. Frank Henenlotter, 1982) is lurking on every tenth or fifteenth page, which is kinda creepy.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


A while back someone posted a then-brand-new DAN MELCHIOR record on that overpopulated Now Playing facebook group, and someone else responded "Is this French prog Dan or rock'n'roll Dan?," to which I responded, "Haven't heard it, but I think it's either Country Blues Dan or Sound Poetry Dan." Point being, the guy (Dan Melchior) can cover a lot of ground and although you may not be sure what approach(es) he might take, you can be quite sure he's gonna do it/them well. Here's a couple real brand new LPs that are markedly different from each other. The Melpomene LP is straight up experimental music. No vocals at all, not really even songs, more like field recordings, slowed down, screwed & chopped, carefully sequenced, joined by sci-fi electronics, ambient chord changes, and occasional elegiac acoustic guitar or keyboards. Takes a while to get going, or may never get going, which may be the absolute intention, a record of true stasis, which is a rare form of minimalism, near as I can tell. Would definitely watch the theoretical film this would make an excellent score for.

Born Under A Grey Sign, on the other hand, is clearly a 'song' album, but that doesn't mean it can be pinned down as any one genre. Rock'n'roll is a fine start, because the music here does both of those things, but it's also industrial, experimental, blues, dub, continental progressive, British pub rock, white aggro-funk, you get the drift. It takes a couple listens to begin to decipher the components, like how "Black Beauty" is made up of heavily echoed chant vocals, a driving kick-and-clap drum machine rhythm, a funk bassline, too-loud overdriven acoustic skiffle guitar, and too-quiet ambient noise guitar, combining for a playful demolition of Ram Jam's ham-handed "Black Betty" (itself an irreverent version of a 20th Century African-American work song derived from an 18th Century marching cadence about a flintlock musket). And on the very next track, Dan sounds like he overshot Spotlight Kid and ended up on the first Latin Playboys album instead! The whole record keeps shifting like this, over twelve equally dense and weird tracks (although the anomalous track 5 "Old Bone's Mansion Greys" is just Dan singing over what sounds like his own knee-slaps). The last track may be the best of all, a slow echoed-out grinder with the title "(They Call Him) The Soiled Prince," and it's so crazy weird good that I just listened to it three times min a row, and the verbal and sonic imagery made me think of this political cartoon I just saw a few hours ago, which sums up this American catastrophe we're in the middle of as well as any commentary I've seen (it helps that it's not verbal, now that Trump's superpower has been revealed, the ability to destroy all meaning every time he speaks or is even spoken about):


Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Unwieldiest band name of the week here, with a self-titled 45rpm 12" EP on the Sophomore Lounge label. Expert decoders might note that Mazozma is a nom de plume for Michael "Ma" Turner, who has been playing weird underground rock music in Lexington, Kentucky for a good 10 years now, starting with his certainly-legendary-to-me-anyway band Warmer Milks. That was a markedly different punkier noisier kind of band (cf. Radish on Light, it's cheap) but this Fatufairfe joint is just as heavy, sometimes even as scary. and might just be his most assured combination of classic-rock, post-rock, and sludge-rock yet. Only four songs, and it ends a little too soon, but they're all pretty long, big, and yearning, each going past the 5-minute mark. Don't know who the people in the power trio rhythm section are, but their playing is heavy and accomplished, which allows Mikey to do all kinds of stuff on guitar and really dig deep into some lost and dark Dead/Allmans nexus. Weird riffs and asides, drawling melodic leads, luxurious big classic rock chords slowly arpeggiating, all in service of some of his most interesting slow/weird ballad songwriting since "Penetration Initials" itself. Apparently this band only played a couple gigs, one of them being the 2014 Cropped Out festival in Louisville, so it's a good thing they got these recordings down. Edition of 100, apparently!

Sunday, October 02, 2016


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

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

BASTARDS "Turvallista Huomista" Mindblowing Finnish hardcore from 1982.

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

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

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

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

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

BOLA SETE "The Lonely Gaucho"

OMIT "Lander" One of NZ's heaviest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 01, 2016


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

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

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

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

Saturday, April 30, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

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

Before Mondrian, Native American Women Painted Abstract Art On Saddlebags

Neoliberalism - the ideology at the root of all our problems

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

Friday, April 29, 2016


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

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Good god I love Thin Lizzy more than ever. Somehow it took me until really just a year or two ago to finally listen to the Eric Bell albums in depth, and they're so goddamn good I made a Spotify playlist called "THIN LIZZY - BEST OF THE ERIC BELL YEARS," which includes my favorite album tracks, as well as non-LP tracks, all in more or less chronological order as released from 1971 through 1973, all with Eric Bell on guitar. I swear I'm on the verge of tears during at least every other song. You might find opening track "Honesty Is No Excuse" to be kind of a slow (and mellotron-laden) start, but it's Phil at his majesticly vulnerable best and how about that delayed drum entrance; know that they had more pronounced folk/blues/jazz/Celtic overtones as a trio with Eric Bell, which were buffed out by more metallic riffage after he left; not that Bell couldn't get heavy, which you'll hear if you hang in there for "Return of the Farmer's Son," which Phil sings the hell out of over a downright Sabbathian groove. Another current fave is Vagabonds-era B-side "Cruisin' in the Lizzymobile," which is such a funky band theme song ("crui-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-ooh-uh-ooh-ooh-uh-uisin"), and also an awestruck ode to LSD. The way Phil trades off the vocal with Bell gets me every single time, especially when the latter sings "Don't complain / You may never feel like this again..."

Saturday, March 12, 2016


The baddest-ass Nina Simone clip on YouTube is whichever one you saw last. Especially if it's "Be My Husband."

I'm in that camp that says that every month, not just February, is Black History Month, and every month, not just March, is Women's History Month, but hey, it is March, so how about some music by another Black Woman?

And now for something not necessarily completely different, here's some music by a white man, footage of the late Arthur Russell performing songs from World of Echo, filmed by Phill Niblock:

Over an hour of Russell/Niblock footage, in fact:

A person on the internet was just talking about Marion Brown's Sweet Earth Flying, which reminded me that it's my favorite Marion Brown LP. (Special thanks to Why Not? and Afternoon of a Georgia Faun.) I already knew this, but listened today for the first time in years and it sounds better than ever. I had forgotten that both Muhal Richard Abrams and Paul Bley are in the band on dualing electric and acoustic pianos, sometimes doing a little Silent Waying and Bitches Brewing, even some Lawrence of Newarking on organ, but mostly doing their own sweet and strange thing. The 5-minute solo electric piano intro by Paul Bley makes it easy to imagine our sweet earth flying from say a hundred miles away, while Brown's darkly gentle and pensive alto and soprano saxophone solos introduce the element of unstable gravity. Another AACM member, and founding member of Air, Steve McCall is on drums... a couple guys I haven't heard of, James Jefferson and Bill Hasson are on bass and percussion (and narration) respectively. The record label is Impulse! and the year of release is 1974.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

SPACIN' Total Freedom LP (RICHIE)

Man... Spacin'. Spacin', man. The lips are back, and this time they're over the mountain. Their first album Deep Thuds from 2012 is superb, and Total Freedom is the brand new (long-awaited?! has it really been four years?!) 2016 follow-up. Spacin' are a band from Philadelphia that play some sort of tranced-out supergunk Stooges/Stones caveman ballcap glampop psychedelia, with stony low-end guitar/drum grooves and sub-cranial hooks. In many ways Total Freedom just does the same thing the first album did all over again, and why not repeat a result that rules? Both records begin with a spaced-out upbeat rifforama rocker that fades into a spaced-out free-form instrumental blowout (on Deep Thuds it's "Empty Mind" into "Some Future Burger" and on Total Freedom it's "Over Uneasy" into "Kensington Real.") Both albums have a late-side-one stripped-down night-skull garage-pop hummer (On DT it's "Chest of Steel" and on TF it's the fabulous "Titchy"). Both albums have an 'African' jam (DT: "Oh, Man"; TF: "Stopping Man").  I should note that even though many of these templates are perfected on Total Freedom, especially the ultra-catchy ultra-groovy ultra-titchy "Titchy" and the blown-out-to-over-8-minutes-long "Over Uneasy," it still might not even top Deep Thuds. That's not a dis on Total Freedom, that's just a measure of how good both albums are. I'm already stoked for Spacin' III! (On pace to be released in 2020!)

"Over Uneasy" live:

P.S. This live Spacin' vid brought to you by the Orthoponix channel, which I can't recommend highly enough for live clips of much of the great current Philly underground, as well as fellow travellers who have passed through...

Saturday, February 06, 2016


I've been reading Holly George-Warren's recent Alex Chilton bio and finding it really good. It's got me all excited about Memphis music history again, and It Came From Memphis is now travelling alongside A Man Called Destruction for side references and rereads. And, of course, I'm digging the Big Star records back out... haven't put #1 Record back on yet, but Radio City is blowing my mind more than ever, and I literally cried while listening to "Blue Moon" & "Dream Lover" a couple nights ago. I'm also eager to get to his pre-punk/post-punk/post-irony 70s and 80s stuff which I'm not as familiar with, other than Flies On Sherbert; haven't heard his Ork stuff yet, or Feudalist Tarts, for example. Problem is, even though I'm long past the Box Tops section of the book, I'm still listening to their tunes over and over, much more than even Big Star. I always thought (assumed?) Chilton was dismissive of them; after reading the book, I think he was proud of the music but dismissive of being "a toy or a puppet on a string" for the pop market; either way, I had written them off as a teenybopper pop band, but George-Warren's descriptions of their music, and the American Sound Studios milieu that produced it, sent me straight to Spotify, especially after she quotes a Jim Dickinson endorsement of the second Box Tops album Cry Like A Baby (1968): "Memphis pop production at its best, on par with the great Dusty In Memphis, recorded by the same cast of characters in the same period. Those two records were as good as it gets." I've now spent a week listening to The Best of the Box Tops: Soul Deep, over and over, and as Bob Christgau is quoted in the book, the "production can only be described as exquisite." Also, Chilton is ridiculously good as the gruff 16-year-old soul man. So many hooks, such great singing and playing. I made a couple Spotify playlists, the first one of what I think are the very best songs (I put "The Letter" last because you already know it but of course it should be on there anyway because it's fantastic), and the second one of deeper cuts that were singled out in the book. 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


"Trip metal aims to capitalize on confusion as a means of connection, rather than a threat to authenticity."

Trip metal is not a joke. Trip metal is always a joke. 

"It is not really any one idea — it is every idea at once. This concept is similar to noise. Noise is every frequency at once, and by filtering, you can in theory make any sound possible. Trip metal can be used as carrier signal that modulates and decodes life in the same [way] a ring modulator multiplies two signals and typically creates a bell tone." 

These quotes are from today's feature on Trip Metal Festival in the Detroit Metro Times. The interview with the festival organizers is highly recommended, as is the festival, which will take place in Detroit during Memorial Day Weekend 2016, and will feature "Morton Subotnick, Hieroglyphic Being, Wolf Eyes, AWK, Aaron Dilloway, Nautical Almanac, Drainolith, Viki, Magas, Lexie Mountain, DJ Dog Dick, Pengo, Rubber O Cement, Panicsville, and many, many more. All the Michigan Underground Group crew will be jamming in different duos or trios as well."

MT: What is the least trip metal thing in the world, aside being interviewed about trip metal?
Trip Metal Fest: Tow trucks.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016


"Here is a group owned compilation made by bands and artists originally brought together by the eclectic underground of New Brunswick, NJ after the turn of the century. A collective spirit brings forth new tracks from each unique artist/group." Indeed, this is like a trip down memory lane for me as well, as all of these New Brunswick bands & artists have been sending stuff to Blastitude dating back at least ten years ago. There was also the Bone Tooth Horn label, and the artist formerly and currently known as 2673; yes, the New Brunswick scene has been interesting for awhile now, and would have been more than worthy of a scene report in The Wire circa 2006 (if one didn't in fact happen). I kind of did one myself back on The Day of the Mushroom, 2007, and though these players seem to have dispersed somewhat from that central hive of activity, this 7" EP is a very nice "where are they now." (I also really like the 4-band 4-song 7" comp EP format for some reason.) The Shadow Band is fronted by Mike Bruno, who I was introduced to via a release under his own name back in 2009 called The Sad Sisters. That was in a striking semi-gothic progressive-folk kinda style, but the Shadow Band sounds a little more classically pop/folk/rock, with a real nice lilting Sunday-morning melody and a sweet guitar/organ arrangement on this song "Blue Dreaming." King Darves first came on our radar back in 2004 or so, first as a weirdo solo noise artist, then suddenly emerging as a some sort of medieval/futuristic also-progressive deep-voiced folk troubadour, most notably with a 2008 full-length for DeStijl Records called The Sun Splits For The Blind Swimmer. His song here is in that style; I know some people have had a visceral reaction to King's distinctive sound & voice and simply can't hang; I've always admired his work but even so was slightly nonplussed by the off-kilter banjo-driven dare-I-say-gypsy-punk musings of this song "yoke/sightline" (actually these are two separate songs as I learned from reading this interview), especially after the elegant smoothness of the Shadow Band, but on 2nd through 5th listens the appreciation is growing and Mr. Darves always gives you a lot to chew on. So, side one is kinda the 'soft' side, and side two is where the volume gets cranked up. It leads off with a track by a band called Quit, who I don't believe I know anything about except that the insert says their label is Log Cabin Recordings; their track "bleeding" is a bit of a wound-up slow-drag somewhat-U.S. Mapley instrumental scorcher and may be my favorite thing on here. The comp ends with the long-running Human Adult Band, who have always been in the Flipper tradition of slow sludgy weird punk but with their own voice/twist that I've never quite gotten a handle on, in a good way; on here they're still leaving my head scratching after two heavy/catchy/confusing minutes called "(If You Got) Worms On The Brain." Human Adult frontman/bassist/founder/CEO Trevor Pennsylvania recently published a book called Lazy Determination that is apparently some sort of band discography/memoir that I would like to read but it seems out of print and hard to purchase, let alone google. Anyway, their song here ends abruptly, as does the comp, which makes it very easy to replay, which I've been doing again and again; long may the Spirit of New Brunswick fly on. You can purchase your own copy for $5 (postage paid in the United States!!!) at

Monday, February 01, 2016


A friend of a friend (who has a couple thousand friends on a popular social media website) recently mentioned (on said website) that he had been good friends with Jerry Garcia (in real life) and he shared this tidbit:

"First thing that I ever did hanging out with him was we got REALLY stoned & went & saw An American Werewolf In London @ The Roxy."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

TEIJI ITO "Axis Mundi"

Been awhile since I've listened to the music of Teiji Ito; might even be since the last time I watched a Maya Deren film, which I haven't done since at least the year 2000. (It's okay, they're pretty etched into my brain.) Right now I'm listening to Ito's 32-minute piece "Axis Mundi," and for the first time I'm listening to it from a post-Don Cherry/Organic Music Society perspective, as I had not heard that particular Don Cherry music until the mid-2000s. This is a very interesting perspective; I think Teiji Ito is one of the very few people even close to being on Don Cherry's level as far as what became 'world music' concepts go. Plenty of evidence on the CD Meshes: Music For Film and Theater, which was released in 1997 by the ¿What Next? label. And right now, you can get the damn thing for under $10 on Discogs. CDs are still cheap, so go buy it, because why on earth would you want a 32-minute track released on vinyl instead of CD? Broken up into two sections, separated by a record flip, when you can just sit back and hear the whole thing uninterrupted? In addition to all 32 minutes of "Axis Mundi," which was composed and performed for a 1982 theater production in Baltimore (Mr. Ito sadly passed away later that year at the young age of 47), it includes his late-1950s soundtracks for two classic Maya Deren films, Meshes of the Afternoon and The Very Eye of Night (the entirety of the former and beautiful scenes from the latter handily embedded below via YouTube technology, with Ito's music in full effect).

Ito went on to marry Deren in the year 1960, but unfortunately she passed away in 1961 at the tender age of 44. It is worth noting that the music Ito was making for Deren's films predates Don Cherry's similar music by basically a decade. Of course, the very Cherry-like "Axis Mundi" was recorded almost 10 years after the Organic Music Society album, so it goes both ways. At the same time, Ito's music is also very Sun Ra-like in the late 1950s, at a time when Ra was just starting to scratch the surface of non-canonical instrumentation and open-form improvisations utilizing Asian concepts of silence. (Mr. Ra appears to have been paying attention to Deren & Ito, as his 1973 film Space is the Place drops a huge reference to Meshes of the Afternoon within its first 5 minutes.)

This is another YouTube of Ito's music, not for a Maya Deren film, but recorded in 1964 for a Japanese film production that was never released. In 2007, Ito's score was released on CD as Tenno by the Tzadik label. (That one goes for a little more money, a whopping $11.99!) It's a little more similar to the "Axis Mundi" feel than the Maya Deren works:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

HASTÍO La Ofensiva Interior CS (NO LABEL)

Limited run of 20. Entire run pictured above. Bottom row center is the copy now sitting in my house! 

Hey, it's another #softunderground tape release from the American soft underground! In fact, this tape is by Hastío, aka PN of Seattle WA, the only other person to ever use the term #softunderground besides me, and of course radio and Twitter's own Jeff Conklin, who actually coined the term and then promptly stopped using it as soon as he noticed a couple of other goofballs had joined in. (Hey, can't say I blame him!) Thankfully, Mr. Conklin still plays lots of music in that style and several others on his weekly radio show on the Best Radio Station in the World, New Jersey's WFMU. He has in fact played this very Hastío tape. It features acoustic & electric guitars, electronics, spacey percussion, and wordless lost moaned vocals. You may have heard combinations much like this before from the post-2000 psych underground, but this one really leans heavily on the guitar. In fact, it's often unaccompanied, with a distinct Latino/Spanish melodic sense which is reflected in the Spanish-language album title and track titles like "Un presentimiento vago y pasajero de triunfo..." Throughout, there is lots of space, lots of silence, lots of pause for reflection, and even a few sections that could pass for a flamenco record on 16 RPM next to a healthy water heater. My favorite track is side one closer "El trueno en la ciudad," which eschews the atmospheric overdubs in favor of simple one-take lonesome zonesome heavy folk strumming. (The title means "Thunder in the city." Which is heavy.) []


Almost absurdly beautiful new music in a soft underground (aka #softunderground) psych/folk/experimental style. No vocals, two side-long tracks; on side A, delicate acoustic guitar eventually emerges from long slow-river washes of electronics; on side B, both the guitar and the washes are on equal footing, blended and interwoven, almost as if one is triggering the other. The Geology label is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Dura is the work of someone named Mattson Ogg, who could live in Milwaukee, or could live in Scandinavia, or could live somewhere completely different. Point being, there's no info about the guy anywhere in the very nice cassette packaging, or on the Geology Records bandcamp page. (UPDATE: It appears that he lives in Brooklyn, New York just like everybody else!)

Sunday, January 24, 2016


A person on the internet just said:

"It's a favorite for me because it's always inviting the listener in to discover new things about both the record and your own mind. This LP is intergalactic and wants to commune with humans."

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


It might be true that everything is now on the internet, but that doesn't mean you're going to find out about it any faster. Way back in 2009 I was sent a tape of free-improvised acoustic guitar folk music by Cooper/Jones/Nichols, aka Sophie Cooper, Kelly Jayne Jones, and Pascal Nichols. I really dug it and was always interested in more from those responsible; next thing I know it's six years later and I hear about a new solo album by Sophie Cooper called Our Aquarius. I find it on Bandcamp and start listening obsessively, eventually noticing that it was released over a year ago. Oh well, better late than never; this is a fantastic album. As much as I loved the ramshackle homemade goodness of Ms. Cooper's earlier cassette, this solo work of hers is waaaayyy beyond. Those were improvised and cheaply recorded acoustic guitar & percussion room-jams, where these are songs and experimental instrumentals that are built up from carefully layered overdubs that are very well-recorded indeed. The result is what might be called a 'psychedelic folk' album, and sometimes it totally is, but it's also sometimes a noise album and/or a drone album, and sometimes it's a sui generis album, which is the best generis of all. The tracks have many layers and each one carves out its own deep territory. It's not until the 3rd song "Klias Wetlands" that we get true femme-sung psychedelic folk, and it's a doozy, a haunting number sounding like something the lady (ghost?) (hallucination?) across the lake in The Innocents might sing. There are two more relatively 'normal' folk songs on the album, the three of which would make a great EP/single release in themselves, but they sound even better surrounded by her deep instrumental work and heavy tone poems. Released as a CDR, in a beautiful possibly-hand-made wallet-thing with lyric insert, on the Wild Silence label, which is run by French musician Delphine Dora, whose work is worth serious investigation as well, among it a haunting collaborative release with Ms. Cooper.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


MAGAS Heads Plus (MIDWICH); MOON POOL & DEAD BAND "MEQ" (MIDWICH); VIANDS Temporal Relic (MIDWICH); MICK TRAVIS Face Disappears After Interrogation (MIDWICH) 
A favorite new label is Chicago-based Midwich Productions, who debuted in 2015 by releasing four records, all of them superb. One of them was by label CEO Jim Magas, a 12" EP called Heads Plus, one of his very best records in a long underground career, forward-looking post-techno style-melting electronic psychotronic headtrip party music all the way. Bonus points for the cover painting by Mark Salwowski, which was used for a 1985 paperback edition of Brian Aldiss's infamous 1969 psychedelic sci-fi novel about the Acid Head Wars, Barefoot in the Head; I initially and confusedly thought it was maybe a commissioned portrait of Magas himself; it all gets tied together in the Barefoot-inspired video for Heads Plus track "Machete King." (All of the Midwich releases thus far have been graced by amazing Salwowski cover paintings.) Speaking of underground, Moon Pool & Dead Band's Midwich release MEQ takes a great 2010 track from the Detroit duo of David Shettler and Nate "Wolf Eyes" Young, adds seven "deep, dystopian techno-funk" remixes of it by various co-conspirators, and then spreads it all across 4 sides of vinyl. These first two releases are the most dancefloor-friendly on the label, while the Viands record is the least traditional in that sense. It also features Shettler, though in a much different initial setting, playing in an ostensibly softer keyboard/synth duo, doing two improvisational side-long pieces, but their Temporal Relic is a very deeply heavy album that grows and grows as it goes. It's not a 'techno-funk' album like the other Midwich titles can pass as, but not merely a 'side-long jams' experimental/psych/synth album either, thanks to a rarefied light touch, highly musical approach, and a particularly enticing and subtle sense of rhythm. I honestly feel like its correct genre is, get ready, krautrock. Like, this is an actual krautrock album from 1973, even though it was recorded in 2014 by two guys from Michigan. Mick Travis is another guy from (I think) Michigan, who has a release on Aaron Dilloway's Hanson Records, collaborated with him in The Nevari Butchers, and has his own label Medusa. His record is a 12" EP that really throws the hammer down, not only musically, but with the incredible sci-fi title Face Disappears After Interrogation (a title like that paired with another mind-blowing Mark Salwowski cover painting, featuring a drowned man in an underwater car and a young boy on a bike under irradiated skies, is really just too much). It might be the most traditionally heavy of the four Midwich releases (although none of them are slouches in the department), almost like some weird personal filtration of the gabber sound, except that the Side A track "Multiple Roles" might end up the most submerged-sounding thing in the catalog. Great shit, all four records are very worthwhile, and more is coming from Midwich in 2016.

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