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: http://stewtheredshoe.blogspot.com/. 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. http://www.sendspace.com/file/z9qvz2