Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Re-ups: by request

Hackamore Brick - One Kiss Leads to Another

Vote: which is better, this or VU's Squeeze?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One Last Ray of Summer Sun

Jim and Dale - 86% of Us
Here is one last gasp of sunshine pop to keep you warm as the days grow shorter and the nights get nipply. And, if I do say so myself, it's a damn good one.

This record was kind of a late folk rock one - it probably came out in 1968 since it was a US law that every record from that year have a version of "Suzanne" on it. The singing and electroacoustic arrangements are pretty much '66, though.

Pretty much '66, except for that prominent mellotron, that is. There must have been some cash that went into this record, because the arrangements are stellar, combining real orchestrations with mellotron much in the way the Bee Gees records from the era did, but a little more understated. That, plus the classically-trained nylon string picking of Jim (or is it Dale), give this album a special something.

By the way, if you care, the 86% in the title refers to the proof of bourbon. Of course, 86 proof is only 43% alcohol, and this album has much more to do with ditch weed than Maker's Mark, but marketing is marketing.

This file is from a raggedy-ass piece of vinyl, and for this I apologize.

Side 1:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tony Clifton at Uncle Dirty's

The Don Neal Collection - Dixie to Disco Dancin'

Here's a private press nugget recorded somewhere around 1977 at the prized Uncle Dirty's Sound Machine in Kalamazoo, MI. Like the other stuff I've heard from there, it is expertly recorded, and just a little wacky.

The Collection was a local lounge band with a wide repertoire. As the title suggests, they do go from Dixie(-land jazz, not country music) to disco. The band is more versatile than nimble, though, and there is a real and enduring amateurish vibe going on here. In particular, the horn section seems to sneak up on notes, sometimes missing by a fair amount.

There are two things that really sell this one for me, though. The first is the total Tony Clifton shtick of the singer. For those of you with short memories, Tony was the lounge club singer that used to open for Andy Kaufman's comedy act. He was a crooner and a ladies man, bracingly unfunky, and crushingly insincere. This singer has that character nailed. Try their version of After the Lovin' if you don't believe me.

Did I mention unfunky? You've got to hear the versions of Sir Duke and Night Fever to believe them. Easily the craziest mash up of midwest lounge jazz and black dance music ever made. These tracks will make your next party the social event of the season.

There's a subtle and incongruent Four Freshmen thing that sneaks in from time to time. In fact, they somehow managed to get an endorsement from one of the freshmen on the back cover. I wonder if the guy managed to listen to the album first.

Alert: a couple of the tracks on here (Glenn Miller Medley, I mean you!) cross a line into transcendently bad. If that's not your scene, you might want to ride the skip button. In fact, you might want to start with side two to get into the flow of the thing.

Track list:
glenn miller medley
bill baily
rock n roll medley
after the lovin
it’s a blue world
the hustle
sir duke
night fever
how deep is your love

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back From Vacation

New Sounds In Electronic Music

Back in the saddle again..... Disappearance due to deaths, illnesses, parties, syphilis, etc.

Here's a rare little biscuit offered as a hi how ya doin'. Known best, if at all, for being the source of the NWW referenced Steve Reich track, this is an early electronic music compilation.

1967 was the year electronic music broke. Moog synthesizers allowed the bleeps and blorps to come out of the academic labs and hit the major labels. So I guess this here is a last gasp of the old order.

Track one is Night Music by Richard Maxfield. To me, it's the least satisfying of what's here. Meant to mimic the noises of the insect kingdom in Central Park, and it sounds like it. This stuff was fast becoming obsolete by the time this record hit the racks.

Track three is Pauline Oliveros' piece I of IV. I kinda dig this one - it's sort of atmospheric in a way this stuff usually isn't. Still, I think I'd enjoy it twice as much at half the length. It's a bit of an endurance contest, this one.

The reason why you'll want this is track two - Steve Reich's Come Out. This is one of my all-time favorites of the genre. A forward thinking piece that sounds as modern today as it must have when it came out.

The piece starts with a kid in a NY jail telling the story of how he had to squeeze blood out of a wound to get medical care after a riot. A topical piece, then. Reich takes that simple bit of audio, repeating it just to the point of irritation, then pulling it slowly out of phase, watching the voices build into a chorus of phrases.

Then, about 7 or 8 minutes in, it surges into a prime electronic psychedelic wash. Deep and rich white noise. This is the kind of thing Lou Reed was going for with MMM, but with nowhere near the subtlety. No matter how many times I listen to this, that surge as the voices shift to phased noise gets me every time. Check it out.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Tribute

I've just heard what might be one of the top ten worst albums ever. A stunning achievement in the so-bad-its-good world. I present Robert Callendar's Musee d' L'Impressionisme.

I've seen this listed as from 1972, but it's gotta be at least a couple years later than that. It's got the stink of '76 all over it. And if you've heard his great Rainbow or his so-so The Way, it's got nothing to do with that psych-lite fake mystical vibe.

No, this is a "concept album" about the birth of expressionist art. Set to music that bounces between the Love Boat theme and A Fifth of Beethoven. Picture a latin/disco groove, with a namby sounding lounge cat singing "he went on holiday/ with Monet." Note to Robert: singing "the impressionist movement" over and over doesn't establish a concept, and it doesn't flow. Fuckin' priceless.

The closest thing to the jaw dropping pretentious awfulness on display here that I'm aware of is "The Beat Goes On" by Vanilla Fudge. Sure, it was a different era, and the sound is miles away, but the intent was the same.

Feel free to cast votes for your favorite awful albums in the comments. Extra credit for good explanations and shares. You can find the Callendar record here (along with lots of other great stuff):

Your Old Crazy Aunt

Congress-Woman Malinda Jackson Parker - Tubman Goodtyme Songs of Liberia

I'm guessing a few of you might have an eccentric old aunt in the family. You know the one, she is unmarried, dresses a bit weird, maybe drinks a bit much at family get-togethers. I always tend to think of this as a Euro-American tradition, but it might just be a worldwide phenomenon.

As evidenced by the record at hand. I'm not honestly sure if Ms. Parker was a congress-woman, married, or even an aunt. If I were a gambling man, though, I'd answer no, no, and yes. Because she's a bit, um, touched (by the hand of mayhem).

Her songs have strange obsessions, usually with blood-sucking bugs and repeated words. They start with melodies, but turn into rants. If you think about Nina Simone at her most angry, you wouldn't be far from the mark.

But her songs also reveal talent with the madness, or else noone would remember this (OK, just crazy does have its own cult, I guess). She clearly has some training on the piano, and her sense of melody and dynamics is that of someone with an ear. She just doesn't deploy it like you might expect.

If anyone out there can shed some light on this one (not cut and pasted from other sources - I know how to use Google, too), please give it up.

Hey - who's got either of those Robert Pollard comedy records? Are they any good? Worth the crazy price tag they have?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We Are Only Humans, Listen To the Sounds In Our Heads!

Magical Power Mako - (Polydor)

I love this record. It is one of the best records I've heard this year, and I hear a lot of records. Don't miss this one.

As far as I can tell, this is more a guy than a band. Still, there's lots of folks who sing on it, so there must be some other input. When I listen to it, it has a jammy feel like some of it is improv, but who the hell knows? Maybe one of you rockers can fill me in.

The second track is a nice demonstration of the difference between the rock music of Japan and the stuff from Germany or the states. The singer (multi-tracked to all hell) comes out with "Takatakatakatowwwwtakatowww" over and over and over again. But the fucker really sells it, where a band like Gentle Giant would make it sound all sissy and stupid. It will slay you on the first spin.

A big part of the genius of this record is in the arrangments. Try this: every 30 secs or so, try to pick out all the instruments in the mix. One minute, maybe it's a koto and hand drums. Next, a choir of children and a mellotron. Later, a piece of rebar and a bass. But it's never guitar / bass / traps.

He/they saves maybe the best track for last. This one is the most Krautrock-ish to my ears, maybe somewhere close to Future Days-era Can, with a fadeout that seems to last for days.

I see this album compared to Faust a lot, and I kinda sorta see it. But where a Faust record makes jagged segues between often abrasive parts, this album is wayyyy more musical in its flow.

There was a limited edition reissue around a couple years ago. If you find a copy, buy it, because you'll probably never see it again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Away From Desk

IRA is on jury duty this week (subverting the American justice system, one case at a time). We'll get some new stuff up this weekend, hopefully.

Note that there is some kickass stuff buried in the discussions for the last few posts. Thanks for blog friends Dreamy and Fuzztunnel (the latter from the wonderful Lost-In-Tyme blog) for their links.

Get the new Dungen. It's good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

IRAs Favorite ESPs

Noah Howard -
Quartet / Live at Judson Hall
By now, IRA readers will note that I've got a thing for ESP jazz. These are the two albums that got that ball rolling. And a couple of rare jewels lost in jazz history.
Howard was (and is) an alto player in a free jazz bag. Seeing a piano-less quartet led by an alto and a trumpet, you'd probably think his quartet album is Ornette-lite. Not so, I'd call it way more formally structured and more melodic. And in areas more fiery than Coleman. I'm having a hard time with a good comparison, because I find this record so unique.
The second album is a little more standard free jazz fare. It sounds very enamored of the Coltrane of Live at the Village Vanguard Again - lots of that rolling and placid piano keeping things anchored down. The second side is surprisingly funky in parts - not a feel you'd usually associate with an ESP session.
If I had to choose between the two, I think I like the quartet album a little more. I think the piano rooting things down gives the live set a little more of a sleepy feel, even though I really like the piano player (Dave Burrell). The live set sound leaves a bit to be desired - a lot of cavernous room sound dulls the energy a bit, too. Still, they are both great records, and a must if you like the style.
A fun backstory on these records - they both used to belong to famous activist John Sinclair. I bought 'em second hand in Detroit because they had his name written on the back as well as because they were on ESP. I wonder if he had to hock his precious and famous free jazz collection to help foot a legal bill at one point or another. If that's the case, they found a good home, John, and thanks for sharing.

Sharebee Down, What Else Is New?

Man, this Sharebee service is cool, but it breaks down a lot. Too bad, as I've got a couple gems ready to go. Is anyone else having trouble with them?

I think I might be missing a bunch of re-up requests down the list here. If you loyal readers have requests, put them in the comments here, and I'll try to get to them. Special respect will be given to readers who give back to the team, my requests are listed in the comments, too.

Monday, May 7, 2007

A Quick One, While I'm Away

Glaxo Babies - This Is Your Life e.p.

Here's a brief one, for you NWW list collectors. I'll bet that Stapleton feller would have been pretty pleasantly surprised in '80 or so to know that almost 30 years later, that tossed-off list would end up being the guidebook for diving into the '70s underground.

As I see it, there's some pretty consistent categories in that list:
  • Prog rock, much of it from the continent
  • Kraut rock, much of it fuckin' great
  • Avant classical, a lot of it electronic in nature
  • Avant jazz, mostly French
  • Zappa/Beefheart weirdo rock
  • Post-punk

It's that last category that is the area where I've been most disappointed with the quality of the listed records. I do think that it is difficult to tell how good music is immediately after it comes out. A lot of that post-punk stuff, present day nostalgia notwithstanding, must have sounded better then than it does now.

This one is very generic post-punk. If you like the style, you'll like this. But it isn't going to change your life, even if your life really sucks.

By the way, a Glaxo baby was a child born with serious birth defects due to maternal use of thalidomide as a sleep aid during pregnancy. Glaxo was the company that made the drug. In case you care.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Reader of the Day Award

Eroc - 1 and 2

The IRA sympathizer of the day award goes out to a reader who calls hisself (herself) Dreamy. Ol' D posted not one, but two Eroc records in glorious 320 sound. I, for one, can't hardly wait to dig in. I'll forgo my usual snarky comments on this one, because I don't know a damn thing about it.

Eroc 1

Eroc 2

pw: dreamy

Take a bow, Dreamy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Edward Gorey Rocks Out!

Michael Mantler - The Hapless Child
Now that I've got this new software figured out, let me drop that bomb I've been waiting to get up here. This is a tough one to find, released in a small run on a custom label in 1976.
Sure, it's under Mantler's name, but this is an Edward Gorey record, too. He wrote the words and drew the pictures. And it's a Robert Wyatt record, because he sings the words. In a way, it's a Terje Rypdal album, because his guitar playing dominates the arrangements. Of course, this is to take nothing away from Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, and Jack DeJohnette, because they're here, too. A who's who of high brow jazz rock elite, huh?
My biggest gripe about this record is that the songs are written as stories, and sometimes the words don't match the music so well. But then you key in to what those words are really saying, and it all makes sense. Because those words are dark dark dark.
Yet another one of those Nurse With Wound list favorites. Speaking of which, any of you got Headmaschine? Eroc? Lily? How's about helping out, then?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Turn Back the Clock

The Brigade - Last Laugh

Music moves so slowly nowadays, there really isn't that much difference sonically between a record from 1997 and 2007. But there was a time...

This record came out, in the sense that there were like 50 or so pressed, in 1970. But it sounds pretty much like a frat rock record from 1965. The only concessions to the modern day seem to be a wah-wah pedal and a homemade Sgt Pepper-ish outro for side 1. And that's cool by me.

For a bunch of high school kids, there's a bit of instrumental talent on display here. I'm gonna guess these kids met in the jazz lab in school. In particular, the drummer has some kick-ass non-rock sounding beats. The single mic recording quality plus the swing feel gives this an odd sort of old jazz record vibe. The singer could use some R&B, but the nice harmonies take the edge off a bit.

Well, I guess one other thing marks this as 1970 - these are all originals. And those are the rocks on which many of these small crafts wash up on. As far as amateur songwriters go, I'll give 'em a solid B.

The best song for me, by far, is the album closer. It's the whole deal - good keyboard lead, groovy Zombies harmonies, and a sticky vocal hook. Everybody is laughing....we got the last laugh.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Hippies Are Cool

Buzzy Linhart - Buzzy

Buzzy Linhart was a fringe participant in the NY folk scene from the early 60s through at least 1980 or so. He was both a side man and a recording artist for much of this time.
He is probably best known for a band that never recorded - a raga group that backed Fred Neil for a bit in 65-66 or so. If anyone has a tape of that....
His first recording was a group called Seventh Sons that did an extended raga-ish piece on ESP. The recording data claims 1964, I'm guessing it's more 67, though. It's cool, but not earth shattering.
This is the first under his name, and it came out on Philips in 1969. The front half is not terribly far from where Fred Neil was at the time. Meandering, vaguely raga feels, slow tempos, kinda blues phrasing. The difference is that Fred Neil is one of the top five vocalists, and Buzzy Linhart is not.
The back half is mostly taken up by a single sitar session called Sing Joy. It is about as Hare Krishna as a major label release gets. Meaning hippie bliss, mothas. Yee-hah!
Buzzy must have been fond of putting out albums called Buzzy, because he did it at least twice. The other one, like the rest of his stuff that I've heard, doesn't hold much for me. When he outgrew the raga, he left me behind.
Burned from vinyl in good, not great shape.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Other Other Kaleidoscope


It seems like every 10-square block radius had a band called Kaleidoscope in 1967-9. Here's the Mexico version.

This is a really fun record. Very amateur hour, and lots of try anything spirit. There is a surprising amount of studio trickery for a non-US production of the time.

I think of this record as a low-rent Steppenwolf. If you're not a fan of the 'wolf, don't let this scare you. Neither am I, and I really like this knockoff version.

Re-up: by request

GTOs - Permanent Vacation

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Let's See If This Thing Works

Sandy Bull - E Pluribus Unum

This is my first attempt at a vinyl rip with my new set up. Please loyal listeners, give me feedback about how this sounds. Questions I have:

1) Are there any glitches in the sound? I'm not hearing any, but in some of the testing I did on other records, I had problems.

2) How are the levels? Am I getting clipping? Too soft?

I chose to do this as my first burn for a couple reasons. One, it has one track per side, so I still haven't needed to learn how to put song breaks in yet. Baby steps.

More importantly, this is a genius fuckin' album. Deep as the Pacific Ocean, and twenty times as weird. Sandy is using the reverb and tremelo sounds as timekeepers here, playing against the drones set up by the effects. Don't believe AMG when they say this is Bull's worst album, because they LIE. This is the real deal.

If you like this, pick up the new live release on Water. It was recorded about the same time as Pluribus came out, and has a lot of the same material.

I'll wait until I get a couple of comments on the quality of the burn to get back on a regular schedule. I've got a few cool things to add on the way, so lemme know what you think.

Monday, April 2, 2007

We're Not Dead, Just Sleeping

IRA fans will note that we've been pretty quiet over the past couple of weeks. Here at the underground IRA HQ, we're doing R&D on a new IT setup. In our continuing effort to optimize the fidelity of our sound reproduction, we've upgraded our equipment. When our dumb-ass old school technophobes figure out how it works, maybe the torrent of music will begin again. I'd say, give us a couple weeks, then.

You know, though, the whole process would seem a lot more rewarding and important if the IRA could get a little bit of support from the readers on the interweb thingy. Lately, I'm gettin' nuttin' but crickets out there.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Harry's Lost Weekend

Harry Nilsson - Pussy Cats

When the Walkmen did a note for note rerecording of this, it reminded me to pop it off the shelf and give it a listen. If you can get past the mid-70's production sheen, especially the way the horns sound (shudder), it's a damn fun spin.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Gil Phones It In

Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson - 1980

This is the third of the missing three GSH records from the end of the me decade. They were being reissued at a snail's pace on TVT until Gil ran afoul of the law a few years back.

Bluntly, this is no Bridges. The album has a similar sound - synths, jazz, Fender Rhodes, etc. And Gil isn't going to all of the sudden start singing soprano. But the songs are not at the same level.

A couple places, the record kicks into higher ground - Shut 'Em Down is a favorite, 1980 is pretty good. But there is a sleepiness to this record that suggests bad drugs to me.

From here, Reflections is actually pretty good all the way through, but the other Arista albums are worth avoiding. The 1993 comeback album (some comeback, Gil) is worth a spin, and is some god-awful EVH guitar away from being a nice return to form. I still hold out hope that Gil will get it together for a monster record before it's all over, although I hear his health is pretty bad these days.

I'll Be Darned

The Damnation of Adam Blessing

Man, you'd think from the title, the year, and the homebase (Cleveland) that this would be a metal band. Not at all, though. Maybe they'd have done better if they were called the Darnation of Adam Blessing.

For me, the bands from Detroit seemed to do a good job of incorporating a natural sounding soul feel into rock. The Rationals, SRC, MC5, hell, even the Stooges if you listen to the rhythm section were way more groovy than any white band outside of the Rascals. Even though the DoAB were from across state lines, I think they had a similar thing going on.

In fact, I'd compare these guys pretty closely to SRCs second record Milestones. If you took that album, stripped out the Hammond Organ, and beefed up the guitars, you'd have something like this. They both have a nice Zombies undercurrent with that soul feel that makes for some good listening.

Please comment on the Sharebee service. I'm still making up my mind who'll have my business.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Walking With a Limp

Aksak Maboul - Onze Danses Pour Combattre la Migraine

According to Wikipedia, Aksak is a Turkish word meaning walking with a limp. Heavy, dude.

This is an album put out by a Belgain band in the late 1970s. Don't be afraid, though, because they don't sound Belch at all.

No, they sound French. Which is similar, but different. French, in the sense that it sounds half way in between synth music, and romantic dinner music, with maybe some carnival stuff in there to make it a little weird.

This is really about as close as I've heard to someone catching the happy up-tempo Autobahn rock of Kraftwerk. Still, it's got enough of the non-synth sing-songy stuff to temper the Kraftwerk influence.

Ah, hell, I don't know. I've had a coupla Belgian beers, and I think you all would like a Belgian record. So dig it.

Another NWW list favorite.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

IRA Comes Back, Phoenix-Like

Frank Wright

Frank Wright was an avant-garde sax player from the ESP stable. If you had to pick a prototypical player from the scene, Frank would be it. Not nearly as distinctive as the more lionized heroes of the scene, and not as obtuse as the most unlistenable honkers.
These are both very listenable albums, at least as far as ESP goes. Grab 'em fast, I've apparently got an angry deleter hanging around.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

IRA Solicits Help From Sympathizers

Someone with a lot of time on his hands just ripped down all of my recent links for the second time in two weeks. This is getting very irritating. I'm not going to let this person win, but I need to figure out how to do this better. Please give me some suggestions, loyal readers.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Return of the Lord

Lord Buckley - His Royal Hipness

Not much to say about this one. Either ya dig what the Lord is putting down, or you can't get it through your sphere. As you like it.

If you are a fan, and it sounds like you are, catch the youtube clip of the Lord on the Groucho Marx show. He is obviously scaring the shit out of the housewife he's matched up against. This was a cat that lived about a half century before his time.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

More ESP Goodness

Marzette Watts and Company

This is the earliest Sonny Sharrock recording I'm aware of. He's not really a big part of this one - there are a lot of folks on this one making their mark. But he's already way far out from the other jazz guitar pickers of his day.

I've read that Marzette and Patty Waters were an item at the time. He's on her record, and I bought this hoping she'd return the favor. No such luck. It's pretty cool, regardless. In fact, it's a pretty representative ESP session (jazz version) of the time.

Monday, March 5, 2007

No Music on This Disc At All

Luc Ferrari - Presque Rein

Luc Ferrari was a musique concrete composer from way back, having worked with the early greats. This was a series of compositions from, as well as I can tell, most of the 1970's.

He might have been chronologically a little long in the tooth, but this is still some pretty out there stuff. In fact, there isn't a note of performed music that I can find on here. All found sound manipulation. Like the beginning of a mid-period Floyd album, but the band never kicks in.

My French skills are absent, so I don't really know much about this. I'm guessing it is a compilation from several different lp's because of the near 80 min run time. The track listings are a little weird - 10 tracks, but only 4 names. I tried to make that clear on the tags.

Another from our series of NWW nuggets. You can see why they liked this - it is only dissimilar from early NWW in mood, not style.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Minimalism of Design


I love the way the minimalism of the titles for this record are so beautifully matched to the content of the grooves. It takes three words to get the band name, the record title, the song titles (Studio and Live), and the way the tracks were recorded (er, Studio and Live, by Anima).

Anima were the Fuchs husband and wife team plus two. They did fully improvised new music. No studio gimmickry or nuttin' - turn on the tapes and let 'em rip. The instrumentation is pretty odd - no guitar-based Krautrock, this one - drums, bass, horns, piano. Some of the horns appear to be homemade bizarro instruments. Lots of hollerin' and wordless vocals, too.

This is the second of the three records that make up the best work of the group. As far as I can tell, it's the hardest to find, and I don't see that it's available on CD at all. Dig this one, it's pretty psychedelic, a lot more than you'd guess from that description.

Another Nurse With Wound favorite. I'll try to get a couple more of those up this week.

Re-up: by request

Milford Graves Percussion Ensemble:

Thanks Rockers

Thanks for all the support the IRA has been getting from its loyal readers. We'll have lots of good posts over the next week, including a couple requests, some NWW list stuff, some ESP favorites, and maybe even a new record or two. Let's keep the discussion lively, and keep the requests a comin'. You readers make this fun.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Enter a New World

Jandek - Chair By a Window

Posted because everyone needs to hear at least one Jandek record.

I like to compare listening to a Jandek record to watching someone pull the scabs off their skin. Real slowly. Music for nightmares, don't listen alone.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Re-ups: by request

Gil Scott-Heron - Bridges (possibly our most popular post ever!)

Cromagnon - Orgasm (one of the weirdest of the weird!)


Der Plan - Geri Reig

This is perhaps the hardest record to characterize that I've put up yet. It is a fully synth and vocals record, but it doesn't sound like any other I've heard. Even though it is German, it doesn't sound a damn thing like Kraftwerk, Cluster, etc. Even though it gets compared to the Residents, I just don't hear that, either.

It *is* a very psychedelic record. The best comparison I can come up with is a whole record made up of the best parts of the best Butthole Surfers records - Kuntz from LAT, the middle section of Jimi from HTS. Weirdness for the sake of weirdness.

Another frame of reference that noone will agree with is like Hawkwind with all the organic instruments stripped out. All you are left with is that rhythmic chug and the weird oscillator noises. There's a couple of parts that feel like this for me.

Whatever I say, I'm not going to do this justice. I wish there were a lot more records like this. This is what synth music should have turned into in the 80s, not that GD new romantic shite.

Another NWW favorite!

Re-ups: by request

Ornette Coleman - Dancing In Your Head:

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Last Gasp of a Dying Style

John Pfeiffer - Electronomusic

By 1968, the old style of electronic music was disappearing. The days of the middle aged guy in the white lab coat manipulating tape loops into classical-ish patterns was giving way to the more rock influenced model. As groups and artists like the United States of America, Pierre Henry, and Silver Apples were coming out, all of the sudden the straight laced stuff seemed kinda passe.

The very corniness of this type of music, though, is a big part of its charm. The mix of Jetsons space age whimsy and white noise, for me, feels like a trip back to a time where better living through chemistry meant improved crop yields and working in a factory was a good job.

OK, but what about the music? It's pretty good - not terribly boundary pushing, but a nice example of the style, with more humor than most. My favorite piece is the last one, where the sound sources are all business machines.

I apologize that the burn is not from a very clean copy. Usually, these kind of records are pristine, because noone ever listened to them at parties. Oh well, maybe someday I'll find a better copy.

Requests for reposts go here

I see that people have been asking for reposts of some of the way back stuff. I don't see the comments if they are posted way down the list, so I haven't been intentionally ignoring you, I just didn't know you cared. If there is one you'd like to see come up again, put it in these comments, and I'll queue it up.

For the guy interested in Bill Plummer, this guy posted it today: That'll get me off the hook for one more, I guess. Let's hope his copy is cleaner than mine.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Re-ups: first of many

More Modern Classical Fun


This is an early experimental recording by MEV. A limited run self-released CD from the mid-90s, as far as I can tell. One long piece with a kinda-long 'bonus track' at the end.

This is not rock-out-with-your-cock-out material. It's obscure, even compared to their better known Leave the City record. I guess that means you should try it if you are into modern electronic classical works.

I notice that about 1/3 of my site is gone this morning. Whatever. I've still got the records. If there is stuff people want reposted, just ask (but ask at a recent post so I'll see it). I'll repost an album as long as it truly didn't come back into print.

Re-up: Lord Buckley

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Sheriff In Town

New Blog Alert: Xhol Desert. First post was by request from yours truly, which merits a loud shout-out. Link is here. Here's hoping for many more great records to Snatch.

Ornette's Got a Brand New Bag

Ornette Coleman - Dancing In Your Head

This is where Ornette shifts focus pretty radically for the third or fourth time. After the Skies of America classical/jazz mash-up, he hired a couple of electric guitar players like all the other jazz cats of the time.

Of course, he wasn't trying to emulate Weather Report or Mahavishnu Orchestra here. These guitar players aren't playing it straight, at all. In fact, at parts they mirror the approach to electric guitar that would emerge from the post-punk and no wave scenes a decade later.

Unlike some of those musics, though, this one goes down pretty smooth. Ornette always had a nice balance between novel approach and melodicism that kept him from being an academic exercise (I think some of his later stuff has lost that balance for me, though).

The last cut is what I bought this record for way back when. It is a cut featuring Ornette fronting the Master Musicians. It's not anything like the rest of the record, but a damn cool addition. Utterly unique in the jazz cannon, as far as I know.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Say Goodbye to the Handsome Stranger

RIP, Charles from the Sun City Girls. Great Band, and he was no small part.

If you haven't heard this, do check it out. The narrations Charles does are not just my favorite part of the SCG cannon (admittedly a limited view - they made a LOT of records), but one of my favorite moments on record, period. Then, go out and buy something by them, cheapskate.

Tra-La-Frickin-La, Dammit

The Banana Splits / The Beagles

Anyone watch the Banana Splits when you were shorter and lived near the water? Good ass show, that one. Big old stuffed puppets. I think some sort of Tom Sawyer thing. Some Monkees like singin and dancin. I'd love to see it in syndication to see if I still like it (some of those Sid and Marty shows should have stayed in memory, so maybe this one should, too).

I haven't flexed this muscle much on the the blog, but I'm a big lover of the bubble gum, and this is the bubblelicious shite. Try to get TraLaLa LaLaLaLa LaLaLa LaLaLaLa (that's 1 tra and 13 las) out of your head once it gets in, 'cause it's catchy like syphilis.

Extra credit for any listener who can dicipher the names of the 4 splits. I think the last one might be snork, but who the hell can tell.

The Beagles? Who the hell cares?

Monday, February 19, 2007

IRA Request Line

Help me out, rockers! I'm in need, indeed. I seek the following:
  • Anything by Snatch, the late 70s band with Patti Palladin
  • Any of the John and Yoko experimental albums (esp Life With the Lions)
  • The first This Heat record (why is this so hard to find?)
  • That Deutsche Grammophon 3 lp w/ Wired, New Phonic Art and Iskra 1903 (yeah, I know, good luck)
  • My Dad's a Fuckin' Alcoholic by the Frantix
  • The Naked Angels soundtrack and/or the Easy Chair demos by Jeff Simmons

So c'mon, do your part for the IRA.

Minimalist Synth Biscuit

The Flying Lizards

This is another album I honestly don't know a whole lot about. I do know that it was on Virgin, from the late 70s, and in the dollar bin. That's why I own it. I also know it was on the NWW list of experimental recordings, so it's got pedigree.

I just found out that Patti Paladin is a (the?) female voice on here. It's quite different than the Johnny Thunders records I remember her from.

The music is very arty and minimalist synth in nature. In many parts, this feels like the Young Marble Giants, but with more of a sense of humor. Like YMG, this record feels very quiet, even at volume. I also hear some Slapp Happy here, and it wouldn't surprise me to find out there were some common members of these groups.

The first song is kind of annoying, and kept me away from this record for a long time. The covers (Summertime Blues, Money) are what will hook you on this record, so you might want to start there. Once you get these, the rest of the album should make more sense.

I've been consistently surprised by what gets a lot of reader comment. I thought the Farm Band would bring it on, instead it was the Homosexuals and the cult recording. Let's see if this one gets the comment box filled.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Re-up: Luie Luie

What does it sound like when a guy overdubs himself playing 20 different trumpet parts over a Casio keyboard? Does it help if he's a pervert? The answers, and more, inside this .rar file. Uploaded by request.

A Tax Write-Off Party

Mike Nesmith - The Wichita Train Whistle Sings

Legend has it that this record is the product of a single session/party Mike had at the end of 1967. Needed to blow some money for tax purposes. Sank like a stone.

I had a longer post, but somehow deleted it. I'm in a bad enough mood that I don't feel like rewriting. More stuff tomorrow.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is That a Real Raga or a Sears Raga?

Clark - Hutchinson - A = Mh2

I bought this record expecting raga guitar and tablas, both from reading reviews and from reading the blurbs on the back cover. That's not really what they are doing though. It's far more like a let-er-rip turn up the amps guitar noodle record.

As such things go, it is not particularly well focused. It does have a certain charm though, especially in the use of non-Western modes and rhythms for a lot of it.
I'll recommend this more as a background than a foreground music experience. In fact, those of you who are really into library music might particularly like this. And if you are a film-maker, you could probably do a lot worse as a backdrop for moderate tension action scenes than some of these workouts.
The burn is from a pretty clean vinyl copy, but there are a couple of spots with some noise. It's a promo copy, so probably a little hotter than the store-bought versions (assuming there are any of those).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

God Hates Rock

The Sounds of American Doomsday Cults, v.14

I've posted some weird shit, no fooling, but this is the weirdest. Here, we have a religious separatist group from the western US who particularly have it in for rock'n'roll. So, they decide to banish it, in part, by speaking in tongues.

Side one has some cool shit, particularly where they teach followers how to have correct posture to resist the Satanic message of David Lee Roth. Or when they read the roll call of Satan-loving rock stars from about 1985 (Huey Lewis? Who knew?).

But the real gem is the 20+ minute ecstatic chant on the back side. The first couple minutes are so jarring, it seems more humorous than affecting. Then, you start to get sucked into the groove. The chants shift slowly, like a minimalist piano piece (but with 40 people speaking in monotone tongues).

That last piece is absolutely BEGGING to be sampled into a electronica record. I'm thinking probably tablas and sitar loops behind it. One of you guys who play that sampling sport needs to do this. Give me a co-writer credit, if you got any class.

Does anyone know if this cult still exists?

The Zu-Zu Man Stretches Out - By Request

Dr. John - Remedies

Early Dr. John records are a real treat. If you only know him as the Tom Waits-lite bar singer he is today (I can see the comments folder filling up already), do yourself a favor and dig deeper. His first cluster of records are way better than that - psychedelic voodoo jams from top to bottom.

This one is probably the weakest of the first four, only because the side long set piece at the end drifts a bit. Call this the four-and-a-half star spread among the five star works.

In addition to being the weakest of the quartet, it is by far the hardest to find. They must not have pressed very many of these - I never, ever see a copy of it around. For some reason, the next album (Sun Moon and Herbs) must have sold about 10 times as much. Maybe because a couple of the Stones are on it.

If you dig this, do yourself a favor and find the rest of 'em.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Record They Didn't Want You To Hear

Robin Gibb - Sing Slowly Sisters

A Robin Gibb record without the rest of the bros can be a trying experience. But this one is so melodramatic, the company didn't even put it out.

If you were following the BeeGees from the get-go, you know Robin had this in him. Dig I Started a Joke, or maybe Turn Me Down. Here's another whole album plus from that bag.

Speaking of the BeeGees, if you don't know their first three platters, do yerself a favor and buy the first three platters reissued on shiny metal disc. The mastering job is top notch, letting the millions of mellotrons and the Paulie Mac bass really stand out like it never did on my old vinyl. Start with the 1st, because the blue-eyed soul is packed tight on that one. From there, Idea is a good choice. Horizontal is a little half-baked, more chorus than song, but you'll want that, too.

Back to Robin: the sound on here is not great. In fact, it's pretty poor. Still, if you dig the 'Gees, and not because of that Night Fever shite, give it a try.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Noises of Your Body Are Part of This Record

The Bonzo Dog Band - The Doughnut In Granny's Greenhouse

They don't come any better than the Bonzos, Bozo. And this is the toppermost of the poopermost in the Dog Band pile.

When you first listen, you'll hear some jokes and parodies. Good ones, natch, but parodies aren't usually much for repeat spins. As you get deeper, you'll hear a scary amount of versatility and variety. Never any flashiness, just in the pocket grooving. Every style from 1920 forward, treated with respect.

Listen, if you will to My Pink Half of the Drainpipe. The Humanoid Boogie. The perfect song for England in 1968: Can Blue Men Sing the Whites?

The difference between the Bonzo humor and a guy like Frank Zappa is that they are never mean, sarcastic, or ironic, the three things that kill comedy. Well, those and not being funny.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The IRA Likes Girls

Boyd Rice Presents Music For Pussycats

Dig ye this. A bunch of girl group sub-classics. The Nuggets of chick rock. Other than mayyybe the Lori Burton track, you probably haven't heard or heard of any of these.

I'm a big fan of the girl group production sound. Cinematic orchestrations, huge non-close mic'ed drums, gobs of echo. They could put Bono on top of that sound, and I could find a way to dig it.

This CD has about as bad a mastering job as I've heard. Probably, some of this is due to beat-to-shit source material. Still, the recording levels are so far in the red that it gets in the way of enjoying the records. I don't know what to say about this, other than you'll have to find the singles yourself to hear them in better fidelity. I'd rather hear a poorly mastered gem than a highly refined turd, anyway.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Art Punks

The Homosexuals CD

I don't know too much about this band, and every time I try to Google them, I get a bunch of sites that are.... pretty explicit. Not too much help.

I do know that this band is related somehow to L. Voag, one of the NWW weirdo records. I do know it was recorded in about 1978, but not released until 1984, when it was pretty out of date. And I do know it is a pretty sought after item.

Mostly, I know that it sounds a lot like the Debris record I posted a couple of months ago. Sort of punk, sort of art rock, a little bit of studio trickery (dead giveaway that it isn't a straight punk record). Pretty cool a song or three at a time, but way too much over a whole album.

You can draw a straight line downward from Roxy through Debris to Swell Maps to this and bottoming out at the Dead Kennedys and Plasmatics. If all of this sounds like a tepid recommendation, maybe compared to the Henske Yester record it is, but this is still worth a listen if you are an art rocker.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

More Bizarre/Straight Goodness

Judy Henske and Jerry Yester - Farewell Aldebaran
I love a lot of the stuff on the short-lived Bizarre / Straight label family. This might be the top of the heap though. Great singing, sharp songwriting, great arrangements, varied sound - everything you need to make an IRA classic.

Right out of the gate comes Snowblind, a dirty-ass rock and roller that the VU could dig. Then a couple of sweet and purdies before St. Nicholas Hall, a psychedelic anti-Catholic song with an avant-garde Mellotron outro. If you haven't heard this, please do download the album. It is one of the all-time greats.

Raider opens side two with a nice sung-in-the-round chorus. Jerry steals the mic for Mrs. Connor, a weeper. Rapture, Charity - a couple ringers. Then, Farewell Aldebaran takes the understated psych feel from some of the earlier stuff and pegs the knob at 11. Giving us a perfect GD ending.

This got reissued on ________, a label that a lot of collectors are pissed with because they don't get good sound and they (reportedly) don't pay royalties. Still, I don't know if my vinyl rip is any better. You can check it and see.

Judy and Jerry broke up soon after this monsterpiece. She was part of the team, rather than the main focus on the disappointing Rosebud, which was one of the last issues on Straight.

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Beginning of the End

Camper Van Beethoven

This is the third (self-titled) album by CVB. I consider this the beginning of the end of our neat little mid-80's underground scene.

Ya see, kiddees, at one time, you couldn't get these undergroundish records at just any store. You had to go to the city that had the college, and go to the hipster store, and there you might find the stuff you saw in the 'zines.

And when these bands came to town, they came to the store to play some songs. They'd hang out with the kids, and be all nice, 'cause someone might buy a record or two. Or share some pot.

What killed this scene was ultimately the fact that it was too fun to keep a secret for too long. MTV started breaking some of our bands into a bigger almost-mainstream. Making the world safe for so-called "alternative rock". Leading to the shittiest period in American Music since the pre-bebop 40s.

I blame two bands for setting the template for the crappy alt-rock of the early 90s. Exhibit one: the $#&^*$% Pixies. And that god-awful soft/loud/soft shtick. The second I hear a Pixies influence in a record, it's off my turntable, dammit.

Exhibit two: Camper Van Beethoven. The slacker/stoner attitude. Nevermind, in its embryonic form. Dig Good Guys and Bad Guys on the link. It's a well greased downward slope straight to **&$%^ Pavement from here.

Sure, I oversimplify. There's accomplices like Beasties, Sonic Youth, Daniel Johnston, RHCP - all influences in their own way. But it is the combo of Pixies and CVB that most clearly points to crap-ass 90s college rock for me.

Still, I really liked CVB at the time, and still am soft for them. They're smart - dig Joe Stalin's Cadillac or History of Utah. They skip styles without being David Byrne. And they drop a corker when they need to - Shut 'Em Down, for instance. Blaming CVB for their influence is a bit like blaming Jack Nicholson for Christian Slater, so I'll refrain.

Vegans Rock!

Stephen and the Farm Band - Up In Your Thing

The first time I heard this was in a used record store, and I decided I had to have it. The clerk told me it wasn't for sale (stupid move, retailers - the correct answer is "I'll sell it to you for XXX"). So, I got on the auction sites until I found one.

I got it, and it wasn't quite what I remembered it being, but it is still pretty cool. The instrumental work is pretty US rural psych. The vocals can get into YaHoWa territory, both in a good and bad way. My favorite parts are when the singers stop and the rockers rock.

These guys were part of a commune founded by one of the minor acid gurus of the 60's (Stephen Gaskin, if you are keeping score at home). From what I can gather, they were sorta borderline cultish in some ways, but not as dark as Manson or Mel Lyman. Their cookbook is still a popular one for vegetarians and they are kinda famous among midwives as a successful hold-out for home birth in the states. They put out at least four albums I know of, with this being the second. The first is by far the best, but this one is good, too. Dig it with a fresh green salad and a hummus plate.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

IRA Wall of Fame

A few things:

First. Add Dorfdisco Braunsfeld to the link list. I check the site every day, and the link shoulda been there all along. Anyway, thanks for the Alt TV - I hope I like it like you like it.

Second. Add The More You Think About It. A new blog. With the Nihilist Spasm Band. Keep it up, rocker.

Third. Don't miss the M Frog record that FOB (friend of blog) Hazy Dave put in the comments a couple days ago. It's a freeeekin jam. We Are Crazy is screaming for a cover version. Thanks HD.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Toast To the Dying

Lee Hazlewood - Friday's Child

Here's a hard-to-find chestnut from Lee's back catalogue. To me, this is where he really hits his stride. The first couple of albums kind of wear out that spoken intro shtick, so here he sticks to songs. The rest of his career is pretty well variations on the style he found on this one.

The reason for the post, of course, is the release of his new, and most likely final, album. We could all take a lesson from ol' Haze. He's surely dying, kidney cancer gone metastatic. But he had the time to squeeze out one final corker.

Cake or Death is the album that everyone thought Warren Zevon did a couple years ago. It is a fully formed (not perfectly formed, because that would eliminate Lee's greatest charm) statement. A couple of jokes, some looks back over his shoulder, an old debt repaid, then -pow- he goes out with the most bittersweet song about dying I've yet heard. I hope my sorry ass can face the final curtain with the humor and courage of my main man Lee.

Enjoy this one with a scotch on the rocks, maybe a cigar. Then, go buy the new one.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gimme That Old Time Religion

The Louvin Brothers - Tragic Songs of Life

The Louvin Brothers weren't in one of these new-fangled new-age-hippy religions. Hell no, they were part of the old time, hell-fire-and-damnation church. The church of the fightin' Yahweh.

This is their first album, at least that I can find. It is made up of twelve songs of death, redemption, cheatin', lyin', stealin', drinkin', and the fires of hell.

Great cover, by the way. Capitol Records stuck with different variations of this model for pretty much all of their country albums all the way into the early '70s. Don't mess with success, I guess.

Crazy, Baby

The Shaggs

The Shaggs were three sisters from rural New England. Dad musta seen the Beatles, and decided that he was going to get *rich* off his daughters' talent. He bought 'em shiny and matching instruments and marched 'em down to the recording studio to make a record. And....

Of course, he blew the family wad on the instruments, and never got them any lessons. Or bought them a radio. Or gave them time to practice.

So, the girls wind up in a studio with no idea what rock music sounds like, or how to play or tune an instrument. And what you get is the most naive and guileless, yet totally random sound.

I've seen some people call this one genius. I'm unconvinced. I enjoy it for a couple songs at a time, but I don't think that there is a whole parallel universe musical structure here by any means. Just a bunch of kids trying to have some fun singing about their cat. Nothing wrong with that.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Danny On the Edge

Daniel Johnston - Respect

This seems to be the album where the "charmingly eccentric" Daniel starts to morph into the "danger to himself and others" Daniel. You can sort of hear the wheels coming off when you listen closely enough. There are a few Neu-ish sound collages that appear to indicate a new-found fondness for smokin' dope. Some of the song snippets are damn near incoherent in their weirdness. Within the year, he'd be institutionalized for the first time.

But this tape also contains some achingly beautiful parts. Just as you think he's disappearing down the rat hole, he kicks you in the side of the head with a wonderful pop hook. It's those hooks that made his early music such a joy to find in those dark mid-80s years.

When the glossy mags write about Danny, they pay more attention to the illness than the talent, and that kind of sucks. It's the same thing with a lot of artists. Quit picking on him. Either like the songs, or don't.
RIP, by the way, to Stress Records, the source of this tape. They have lost the rights to Dan's catalogue, which they have faithfully kept in print for twenty years. Stress was the hippest of the hip in the psychedelic revival.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Big IRA Shout-Out

Let's hear a round of huzzahs for a couple of kick-ass new (to me) blogs. Mutant Sounds and the Mystery Poster are locked in a death match for the coolest record collection on the net, with the obvious winners being the rest of us pobuckers. Follow their links to see what I'm talking about.

I'll declare the winner when one of you pops up one of the following three records: Moshe Mouse by Michel Magne, M Frog's record on Bearsville, or Vibing the Senile Man by Alternative TV. Whoever gets one of these first gets the IRA vote for the "Best Record Blog" Grammy. Let the games begin.

More Guitar Skronk

Sonny Sharrock - Black Woman

Since the first Sonny post has been a big hit, and I had it burned to CD already, let's toss out the second Sharrock record. Even though Monkey-Pockie-Boo is the one with the reputation, I find this to be the superior record.

First, there is more variety here. A couple parts almost sound like jazz, and there's a real cool acoustic interlude on side two. I also think that Linda's singing goes in more directions here.

Second, I think the band is better. These guys are clearly more used to playing out stuff. Try to dig what the rhythm section is doing throughout this record - it's really pretty neat. The recording quality is better than the first one, too, which allows the instruments to stand out a little more.

Anyway, this is really good stuff. If you are a guitar player, I'll highly recommend you put both of these records in frequent rotation. They'll help you get out of your rut every time.

If anyone has his Space Ghost soundtrack, I'd sure love to hear it. Can you help me out over here?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More From Alice

Alice Coltrane - Universal Consciousness

Here's another Alice Coltrane record, as promised. This is one of my favorites of her solo albums. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

To Torture Or Not To Torture?

Sonny Sharrock - Monkey-Pockie-Boo

Sonny Sharrock was the most out-there of the out-there guitar players. His playing was like shards of glass zipping through the air - atonal, arrhythmic, ugly. I think of him as the Albert Ayler of guitar (a high complement from these parts)

This is maybe his most nuts album. It's a trio date with a French rhythm section, and includes his wife Linda in several parts. It came out on the BYG label in 1969.

My wife came into the room when I was burning it to CD from the vinyl. She made the observation that it sounded like a woman being tortured. Me, I think she sounds much more like she is imitating a screaming horn, probably a trumpet. Either way, she's taking Patty Waters a step farther in a way similar to Yoko. If you hate Yoko (for her music, not because she broke up the Beatles *yawn*), you should probably steer away.

But if you like Patty or Yoko, or if you like the most out jazz, you'll probably love this one. This is another of the NWW list, for those of you who care.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Worst Blue Eyeshadow Job, Ever

Kim Fowley - International Heroes

Look at that picture, will you. Keep in mind that Kim is also about 6'7" and around 130# (for those of you who work on meters and kilograms, that's really tall and really skinny). This is the kind of thing that gives the most fearless people nightmares.

Kim Fowley has always majored in shock value. Dig his record titles: Outrageous, Good Clean Fun, I'm Bad, Animal God of the Streets, etc. This record is the best of a few that grab on the glam movement to shock the pinks.

I really like this record. It's much higher budget than Kim usually gets, and he uses the big productions to nice effect. When you surround him with background singers and let the players rehearse beforehand, you get to see how good the compositions are without being distracted by the low-budget production values.
Even though a lot of money went into the making of this record, it must have stiffed. There don't seem to be a lot of copies around, and I've never seen a reissue of it. Still, if you like Kim, this is one of his best.
Oh, and this link is still active for another hard to find Fowley rekkid, his first:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Odds and Ends

Here's a few things that have fallen between the cracks. Let's fix that.

More Edgar Varese, this time the Music of... v. 2. Two part file:

The first Lou Reed solo album. Enh. I got this from somewhere else, but I don't remember where.

The second Mecki Mark Men record (Running Through the Night?). Again, someone asked a while ago, and I forgot to put it up.

Brute Force, Confections of Love. Why are you clowns not all over this? It's genius.

Jazzactual, records 1-3. I must have somehow deleted the original post.

The Paul Bley Synthesizer Show. This is really cool. Features NWW artist Annette Peacock.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny

Edgard Varese - The Complete Works, v. 1

Probably most of you first heard of Edgard via Frank Zappa, who was a big fan. If you've ever listened to any of his orchestral works, from Lumpy Gravy to the Yellow Shark, you'll be at home with this record. You can certainly hear Varese's style throughout Frank's work.

This is stuff to listen to closely. At first, it can sound a bit off in the harmonic structure. But as you listen to it, you'll understand that it is meant to be dissonant in parts. In fact, the use of dissonance for longer stretches is a big way this is different from older orchestral works. As is the reliance on percussion to carry melody.

This is an earlier record (came out in 1950), so the electronic / musique concrete stuff isn't here yet. Don't let that steer you away, though.

If people like this, I'll put up some later works. Let me know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wild Ass Garage Rock From New Zealand

Chants R&B - Stage Door Witchdoctors

This is a kick ass comp of garage rock from New Zealand (where is the old one, by the way? Is it Zeeland, MI? Probably not, because it is spelled differently). Like a lot of Austr/NZ garage rock, it's got the balls-to-the-wall dementia thing cold.

I'd liken this one to the Missing Links. If'n you like that, you'll like this too. Like the 'Links, the material is kinda spotty - lots of covers or borrowed riffs - but they sell it with real live conviction.

Other than that, not too much to say. Just a good solid garage comp.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Important Music

The Plastic People of the Universe - Egon Bondy's Happy Hearts Club Banned

Lots of bands like to think that they are doing something important. Few are. This one did.

The Plastic People formed right after Prague Spring, when the USSR troops came in and clamped down on all that messy freedom stuff. These guys paid the price over the years as Czech society became more repressive. Many of them went to jail.

This is the first document of their existence to be smuggled out to the Western world. It is thought to have been recorded around 73 or 74, but it wasn't released until 1978. As a political statement, it really can't be topped. As a purely musical expression, it's really good.

The PPU were clearly influenced by the Mothers and the Fugs and the Velvets, which is a great palate to work from. The Eastern European touches, especially in the modes that they use, give it a real unique flavor. The translated lyrics make it clear that they were pretty crass and pretty funny. I included the translated title names to give readers a feel for this.

The PPU were part of a group of artists, rabblerousers, and intellectuals that included Vaclav Havel. This group of people was responsible for a big part of a larger movement that helped to bring down the Soviet Empire. Let's see Bono top that.

This is another item from that NWW list of rare and weird recordings. I'll try to get another one or two of those up here this week. Burned from vinyl, and the recording source probably wasn't so hot to begin with, so the sound ain't super purdy. But the best stuff rarely is.

Re-ups: by request

Simon Finn:

Bill Plummer:

Lots of new stuff coming this week, stay tuned.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

RIP Alice Coltrane

John Coltrane - Live At the Village Vanguard Again

Alice Coltrane died today at age 69. Let's take a minute to remember one of the last of the giants.

That's right. I called her one of the giants. You want to make something of it? She took a lot of shit in her day - the Yoko of jazz, kind of. But she didn't deserve it (neither did Yoko, but that's another post).

Don't believe me? Have a listen to this one. McCoy Tyner was and is a bad-ass piano player, and a hard act to follow with Trane's band. But where McCoy was all spiky and angular, with oddball voicings and suspended fourths, Alice was calm as an ocean breeze.

And putting that calm underneath the big round tone of JC, even with the antics of Pharoah, gave this music a devotional feel that noone else can match. This is one of my favorite jazz joints ever, so give it a try.

I can hear you whiners now: oh, sure, she can hold her own among titans, but her own albums... Give me a couple days, and I'll show you that her solo records are the goods, as well.

You Think You're Bored...

Destroy All Monsters - Bored

This is a record I had wanted to hear for a long time before I found it. This is where Ron Asheton went after he was in the Stooges.

They were a band before Ron signed up, though. There are some lo-fi recordings of some pretty out-there stuff from the mid-70's - much more jazz and free rock than what you'll get here.

By this time, though, they are in a pretty punk rock with noises phase. Trust me, there's better examples of this genre out there. I find this one pretty shrill.

In their defense, I don't think this was ever planned as a record. It's really a couple singles and probably some rehearsal tapes or something. And from what I hear, this is a band that had to be seen to be understood.

If any of you really enjoy this, please post a comment and tell me what I'm missing.

Learn Your Future, After It Happens

Criswell - The Amazing Criswell Predicts Your Future!

Criswell was a low-rent and campy soothsayer from Hollywood. If you know him, it's probably from his role in Plan 9 From Outer Space, which should tell you all you need to know about this record.

This record came out in about 1970. The predictions went up to about 1999, or as he called it, the end of the world.

For any prognosticator, the proof of their talent is the accuracy of their predictions. Here, Criswell is at times eerily prescient. For example, he predicts the political rise of the American south, the women's rights movement, unisex glam fashions, and maybe even Osama Bin Laden.

Of course, he misses a couple too. We don't yet live in Jetsons-type space houses. Men have not gone extinct. But what the hell, sometimes the looking glass gets a little cloudy.

New Blog

Welcome to Too Many Sounds Unfound. There's some cool stuff on there, hopefully more to come in the future. Link on the left - check it out.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Re-ups: Pharoah Sanders Quintet

Sorry for the wait on some of the others, I'm snowed in, and can't get to the store to get any blanks. Soon....

Thursday, January 11, 2007

And Another Quick One

Sly Stone - Live '68

Sly started with a positive and happy good vibes show. Somewhere around '69 or '70, he developed a menacing tone that made his records very interesting, but made his attendance at gigs a bit spotty. Here he is before the dope got its hooks in him too badly.

Sorry, no track list for this. But, hell, you all know these songs anyway, right?

The Captain Treads Water

Captain Beefheart - Lick My Decals Off, Baby
This, along with most of the Bizarre / Straight catalogue, is not currently available in any authorized version. That sucks. Someone should fix it. This, Starsailor, Farewell Aldebaran, Lucille, An Evening With.., Hip Aristocrat - some great stuff here.
That said, this record is a hell of a lot less obscure than the usual IRA posting. Probably, a lot of you already have it. But if you don't, here you go.
Pretty much every record CBATMB put out before Unconditionally Guaranteed was a major move from the one before it. This is the one time where an album came out sort of like the one before it. For that reason, it is probably my least favorite of the string from Safe As Milk through Clear Spot. But even so, I really like this record. And I think it is the first one of them I had all those years ago.
OK, so it's not *exactly* like Trout Mask Replica. There's some marimba, and the recording is a little less field sounding. After this one, he went to a little more of a stripped down sound for Spotlight Kid, a very underrated record.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Their Favorite Tour Spiels

The Minutemen - Ballot Result

Tour spiel is the Minutemen term for a song about touring. 99% of tour spiels suck - think Turn the Page, for example. The other 1% are by the Minutemen.

The Minutemen are more than 20 years gone, a fact that took me by surprise when I saw that documentary about them (you haven't seen that yet?, why not?) I saw these guys on one of their last tours in the summer of '85, and they were phenomenal.

This lp was put together after D. Boon's car crash, and it was based on the results of fan polling for their favorite songs (hence the title). These are almost all live and alternate versions, with a couple of unreleased things popping in here and there.

The Minutemen tend to be remembered as part of the SoCal hardcore scene. Fair enough, but they sound *nothing* like those bands. They had a real supple funk feel that still holds up well today. The sound quality on this is spotty, but it really doesn't matter - hell, the sound quality on their main releases sucks, too.

Rock trivia: Mike Watt from this band is the new bass player for the reformed Stooges. Great choice, because Mike is the man.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Canadian Christian Cranks

The New Creation - Troubled

The New Creation were a Vancouver BC band made up of mom, son, and other chick. None of them could sing, play an instrument, or write a song at anything near a professional level. They believed very strongly in the Christian religion.

Sound like a good basis for a rock band? I thought so. If you like the Shaggs, this one is for you. It doesn't quite have the jaw-dropping lack of structure, but it comes as close as anything else I've heard.

The lyrics are absolutely bizarre. I privately think that their obsession with bad behavior like dope and sexual deviance is a defense mechanism against sublimated desires, but I think that about most religious cranks. Anyway, I doubt their version of the gospel is going to win many converts to the cause.

Like a lot of records, the best thing is the first track. It is an absolutely amazing sound collage that will be on all of your mix tapes from this point forward. This was briefly reissued a few years back, but is back out of print. Get it now, because it probably won't get reissued any time soon.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Favorites of 2006

We spend a lot of time looking far backward here in the IRA, but that is more an artefact of the 'rare and out of print' criteria for blog posts. What, then, are the greats of today? And why on Earth would we wait until AFTER the new year to print the obligatory best of '06 list?

OK, a few things.
1) It's not a list of the best of 2006. That implies a level of objectivity and a breadth of listening I couldn't hit if I were sober.
2) I'm a jackass, and I hate everything.
3) My budget got tight last year, and I didn't buy as many new things as I do most years.

I'll respectfully submit that we'll look back in 20 years at 2006 as the year that the great creative burst of the new millenium petered out. Each of the last several years found a dozen or more new bands that really seemed unique and special. This year, eh, not so much. Fully half of my year end favorites are dinosaurs - 20 years old or more.

THE IRA FAVORITES OF 2006 (In no particular order):

Espers: Espers II (OK, this is my favorite, the rest are in no order)
Great mix of well-miked folky guitars, breathy women, and out electronics. Could have been made any year between 1974 and tomorrow. Hot poop.

Joanna Newsom: Ys
Gosh, this is a nice record. The Malvina Reynolds singing voice, the crazy-ass lyrics, the oblique song construction (no verse/chorus, this), the Van Dyke Parks charts - this has got it all. I think a lot of folks find this irritating, and of course it is, but don't hold that against it. This is the record that everyone seems to think that the Fiery Furnaces make.

Television Personalities: My Dark Places
Great to have Danny back. Continues right where he left off, which I think is near the top of his game. I love the downer vibe.

Sparks: Hello Young Lovers
How weird is it for a band that has been up and down for 30 years to all of the sudden put out two albums that are stone masterpieces? Their last two albums have been a couple of the best of the decade. If you missed them, you suck.

Matmos: The Rose Has Thorns
I don't usually go for this type of thing, but the feels are so varied, that it works. I'm surprised not to see this on a lot of the Mojo/Uncut type of year end lists.

Scott Walker: The Drift
Of course, it's a great album. Since when are his not? I'm afraid he might be in a rut. I hope the 2013 release is a bit of a change of pace.

Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
Speaking of a rut, I think that the critics were pretty hard on this one. C'mon guys. Quit with the backlash. There's some great pop songs on here. It's better than the last one, and y'all called that album of the year.

Boris: Pink
I saw them live this year, and they were the bomb. I felt like I'd had a kidney massage when they were done. They kicked the shit out of both Earth and Sunn, a coupla mighty bands, themselves. I still think they've got a better one in them.

OM: Conference of the Birds
These guys do a single thing, and I'm convinced that pretty much every song is built off a variation of the same bass riff, but it sounds so damn good. Man, that bass tone is a-frickin-mazing.

Milman-Brignall Enigma: Bafflemania
Raise your hand if you expected this. A second-line veteran of the '70's NY punk scene makes a comeback with a CD that covers all the bases from Appalachian folk to crooning to psychedelia to avant garde tape loops. Sometimes the ambition is bigger than the execution, but that adds to the fun. I think at least one of these guys on this album is a regular IRA reader, so say nice stuff about it.

Bonnie Prince Billy: The Letting Go
A nice bounceback from that Superwolf / live album pairing of duds. A middling BPB album kicks the shit out of 99% of the mere mortal output.

Robert Pollard: From a Compound Eye
Again, a middling GBV-related release is better than the Mojo top ten list. Let's see that damn Jack White try and hang with uncle Bob.

I'm sure that there's a couple others that'll occur to me over the next couple days. Please post stuff that you think ought to be here. You'll probably be right. I just haven't heard it yet.