Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Bottom of The Box (aka the Discs of Shame)

Break out the party hats. I don't have a party hat so I'll just wear a baseball cap or something. Better yet break out the beer.

I have reached the end of liquor-booze-box-full-of-records # 1! Long live box number 1 (started in May 2004). But first I must don my hairshirt.

Here are four discs I "never got around to" digitizing... some were easy throw-outs, others took multiple listens until I finally thought "what was I thinking in [buying|keeping|not trashing] this disc long ago." These are even worse than Pillsbury Hardcore, Legendary Pink Dots or Jethro Tull's Christmas single.

So without further delay, I present the bottom four! And I move onto a new box today...

SWANS - "I Crawled" EP. Swans were probably best remembered as a great live group but often didn't click in the studio - perhaps M. Gira was a bit of a control freak and hampered the angry spirit that seemed to set this group on fire. I have read that Jarboe was present at this session but not yet a member of the group. Too bad, as her influence seemed to bring out the best in their studio recordings. Someone else wrote it best about "Raping a Slave" (and I would say the other cuts on this record): "I have no idea why this one is often called the quintessential, or the best, Swans song: probably exactly because of the fact that it's just a bunch of incoherent noise boasting even worse production than usual (on this version, anyway). My tolerance really doesn't amount to stuff like this, which essentially just bores me and certainly doesn't prove to be demonstrating the band's talent at all. The only good thing about it is that it really helps highlight the more "melodic" stuff."

Nice typography, though.

CHANNEL RATS / RAF GIER Split LP (distr by Ladd-Frith). Music that was apparently borne in a random German beerkellar as a tribute to American/British punk. It should have stayed in the cellar. Even if it is a nice cellar.

JOE WALSH But Seriously Folks, Warner Brothers (1978). I guess I liked Walsh because he wrote politically incorrect letters to Rolling Stone about bombing Iran at a time when Grandaddy Greil urged caution. I was kinda bummed when he joined the Eagles, my most hated hippy group and they have sort of turned him into the generic blob non-entity that he is today. I think I spent more time with this album not because I liked it so much but the drum parts were kind of interesting to learn. It was an interesting listen - Walsh's self-depreceating humorous take on being a California rock star (of sorts) wears well but the plodding, pre-Eagles music really doesn't. It doesn't help that many of the songs from this have been staples on "Classic Rock" radio - which during the '80s and early '90s was the bane of all of our existences, inescapable as it was in the Mall food courts, the Bennigans and other assorted Hippy Parent hangouts. Still, great cover concept that predates Nevermind.

METALLICA - Garage Days Re-Revisited - the $5.98 EP (no image provided pending copyright dispute with band). Here Metallica crucify - I'm sorry -- Metallicize a handful of otherwise harmless old British New Wave Metal (Budgie!) or American Punk (Misfits) turning them into, well, songs that sound like nearly every other Metallica song. They offer no apologies and broker no criticism for their heresies - saying in the liner notes that it is all in fun after all. If that's so, can I have my $5.98 back now? And Dave Mustaine seriously wanted to be part of this? I tried to say something nice about each record on the tail end of the paragraphs above but seriously, I can't think of one thing nice to say about this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

LL Cool J: Bad LP

Def Jam, 1987

J.T.: Hey. You really were never that bad but you were alright. You don't eliminate punks or cut 'em up in chunks or even "eat rappers like a cannibal" but I loved ya in Halloween and Rollerderby if its any consolation and love your earlier stuff.

In fact in "Bristol Hotel" you kinda sound like Fresh Prince except you know explicit and all. Still, I like rap songs about real ho's (f'rinstance, "Dear Evette"? -- one of my fave O.S. raps). And hey, your tributes to 50's music - "Go Cut Creator" (aka "Johnny B. Good") and "Do Wop" sound pretty "bad" (as in good) ... but then there's the pathetic "I Need Love" -- ooh, you kinda Frankenchristed there... I was almost embarassed for you and I'm not all about not knowing your sensitive side, there's just better ways to go about doin it, 'kay?

"Bristol Hotel"
"I'm Bad"

Buy it

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Adrenalin OD: Humungousfungusamongus LP

Buy Our Records, 1986

I took some shit liking this band back in the '80s and this record didn't help but I got what they were doing with that awfully crappy cover photo and the lame title (Humungousfungusamongus was something my Mom used to say when she wanted us to bathe, bleh). I think they were just saying they weren't going to succumb to the metalcore trend of the time (in the extensive liner notes, they cite the fact that they didn't sign with Combat Records as a reason they are cool) and appearances were a pretty dumb way to judge a band - not exactly original but a bit different for that Pushead - Thrasher-influenced era.

This record sorta carries on in the same vein as Wacky Hijinks of... . The songs are all over the place (again) - from incomprehensible thrash ("Fuck the Neighbors") to semi-experimental - or at least different (percussion only "Pizza-N-Beer") to their "humor"/trash culture songs "Fishin'Musician", "Velvet Elvis," "Bugs" and even a few overt political cuts such as "Crowd Control". And finally the pop, melodic thrash which still wears pretty well. Oh, and did I forget their predeliction for TV themes (here they cover theme from Masterpiece Theater)?

Besides "Masterpiece", the best cuts here are the the poppy melodic ones - "Youth Blimp" and "Nice Song In The Key of D" and both are by guitarist and vocalist Paul Richard. I've previously blogged the "Nice Song" single (see below link if you care). Besides being a great little tune, "Youth Blimp" is a subtle dig at the escapist Scene Unity culture. Hey, if they had their Crystal Ships (wooooo), we can have our big grey blimp, no?
Black, white, red or yellow
All females and fellows
If we fly the dirigible
We'll stand indivisible

Hoo-yah! Beam me up and put my sleeping bag next to the skinhead girl...


Paul Richard - vocals/guitar
Jack Steeples - bass
Dave Scott - drums
Bruce Wingate - guitar

Singiesongs fer dancin about likka dang fool:

Consumerist Crap:
This was rereleased several years ago in a CD which included a bunch of other cuts. New copies still seem to be available. Check froogle for it.

Adrenalin O.D. are always fun when they get back together, and leave it to Dave Scott to come up with a handful of classic one-liners ("Hey Hilly Krystal, my mom loved you in City Slickers!") And they can still play as awesomely fast as back in the day, speeding their way through classic NJHC cuts like "Suburbia," "Bugs," "Old People Talk Loud," the "Masterpiece Theater" them, and "Nice Song In D." I've said this before and I'll say it again right now: There were two bands that inspired me to start Jersey Beat. One was the Bongos, and the other was AOD.
I stole and cropped the picture from (he or she's selling the LP - go buy it) - click the link to see the back cover and record label if that excites you

Saved Round:

I got this link from Punk Vault - hee hee (link is the blogroll, yeah, right there... no, up one, there click):

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gelatinous Citizen: Rhythm of Industry

More bottom of the box "favors" for you.

Gelatinous Citizen were a local (Arlington VA) based underground electronic one-man outfit (all music, production attributed to Ferd) that mixed industrial sounds with new wave pop and gothic but in such a soothing way as to often create novocaine-ish pre-trance electro-pop even while and in support of the songs that decry/celebrate alienation, conformity and apathy.

What's to like? mixing of various 80's influences such as Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Bauhaus, Public Image Ltd. and even Prince (vocal processing) and if you can't get beyond the synths quite a bit of a variety within the one-man band construct. The songs follow mostly 8-bar conventional pop structures with instrumental side-trips into funky synth robot land.

What's not to like? the overabundance of synth - in particular that synthy synth sound so popular in the 80's. The drum machine programming is often one-dimensional and cliched. The songs follow mostly 8-bar conventional pop structures with instrumental side-trips into funky synth robot land.

Gelatinous Citizen also appeared on several 80's underground new wave/ industrial compilations (Back to the Grindstone, Flexipop (from France, but of course) Fanzine comps, etc. ...) and even an early Washington Area Music Association compilation CD of DC local artists where Ferd shared space with those 80's local bands I thought I had forgot: Strange Boutique and Bruno Loves Danger (I'm such a name dropper).

This record, in mint shape and with the insert (I seem to have lost it) fetches upwards of $50 on some of the used record sites. I'm not exactly sure why but some people are really wild about the underground 80's electronic scene (see previous reviews on Smersh and Mike Wran). To my knowledge, Ferd never played out in the local area or at least I never saw it advertised. I probably got this record as a promo while writing reviews for a DC fanzine. And, I have no idea what became of him although I did pick up a trace of evidence or two that he got involved in the Trance scene.

Song Listing:

Syde 1 (his spelling)
Rhythm of Industry
Words as Venom
Always Alone
Syde 0
We All Americans
Upright Man
Your Mind's Unsound's mint Rhythm of Industry:

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday night download

The show I am playing in opens this weekend. My drums are finely tuned, my solo has been choreographed (bum, bum, bum, biddle bum and all that) and I'm off in a half an hour. So the blog suffers, so what. I'm about halfway through cleaning the new box of vinyl and there are some doozies in there, so stay tuned.

Isn't Autumn nice?

Apropos of nothing, here's a good Friday tune for y'all that might have been overlooked. I've played in a band that did a cover of "Ohio" by Neil Young. Let me tell you, for a drummer this is the most monotonous thing to play especially if your guitarists don't have much of imaganation and just do the slog through the verse-chorus, jam, verse-chorus, jam, rinse. Gorch Fock seem to have found the secret to making the song interesting again. At least's that's my opinion.

"Ohio" - Gorch Fock w/ vocals from Mr. Kevin Stack

Have a great weekend - I may be back to finish up Box #1.

(Anyone know what's wrong with Blogger's image uploader?)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Sex Pistols: We Have Cum For Your Children

Skyclad, 1988

This supposedly sanctioned release pretty much blew - it's mostly demos, poorly recorded live tracks and TV interviews in which the boys, tut tut, misbehaved. I'm usually no fan of live audio tracks -- and there's none here, no matter how historical - that change my mind and the I've seen the Bill Grundy interview, big whoop. More offensively, it even included a supposed Sex Pistols cut ("Revolution in The Classroom") labelled as an "ultrarare mystery track" that was actually recorded by Dave Goodman's band (he is the "curator" of this collection and self-described Sex Pistols "sound man and producer"). Suckers!

But I found it in the budget bin (where it may still be) and it had some demos that I had not previously possessed so, what the hey.

One oddness - given that this was 1988 and a punk record - Ronald Reagan appears on the cover although he was virtually unheard of in England during the time of the Pistols. Oh, that must be that semiotic punk cognitive dissonance.

  • "Submission" - is a four track recording from July '76 with some awfully odd sound effects which were later replaced by guitar in their one album. It's one of my favorite of their cuts, so it's a treat to hear a different version.
  • "Pretty Vacant" also from the July '76 rehearsal studio four track and it sounds a bit more raw than the LP version.

  • All the non-Sex Pistols recordings that scam artists and hucksters have foisted on the perhaps not so unsuspecting public are detailed here
  • I don' believe this is in print but there are still new copies out there at some online stores - buy We Have Cum For Your Children

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Coffee and Cigarettes: Billy Pilgrim Mix

Read this Wash Post interview of Kurt Vonnegut (by Bob Thompson) during the morning ritual and made an alternate mix for the reading...

"Oh, I've made a recording of that -- to music," he says. He unfolds his lean, 82-year-old frame, locates the CD, hits "play."

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses, took off backward from an airfield in England, the voice of a somewhat younger Vonnegut intones.

Sounds of rain and thunder fade into background jazz. A female vocalist wails along.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. . . .

The recorded Vonnegut keeps reading as women in factories dismantle those containers and separate their contents into harmless minerals for return to the ground. The present-day Vonnegut lights the cigarette he's been fondling for half an hour.

The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. . . .

"Same Mistake Man" - Indian Jewelry
"Little Wethead" - Minus Story (h.t. LHB)
"I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape" - The NuGrape Twins
"Blue Bird" - The Rosebuds
"Step Away from the Cliff" - Blue Eyed Son
"Cutting Daisies" - Buttercup

more Vonnegut photos here
read the actual passage from slaughterhouse five here

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Boduf Songs

Boduf Songs - Self-titled (Kranky, 2005) - By request of one of my commenters...

This sounds not so much Iron as Ginseng and not so much Wine as it does Sleepy Time Tea. It's laden with freak-folk cliches (weird song titles, under-acted vocals, old tyme packaging, could an Arthur covershot be in the future? etc.) but get over it, so is nearly everything else in this genre... I'm sayin' its worth yr dime anyway (instead of buying that Iron and Wine/Calexico thing, p'haps). I just listened to it as I ushered in the morning with my coffee and cigarette (down to one ciggie a day now, two on the weekends, hah, I'm even storing my beloved English Ovals in the cigar humidifier to keep 'em fresh).

Rather than try to get the gist of it from the MP3s linked to below, the record/CD really deserves to be heard as a whole as it starts out very quietly with "Puke a Pitch Black Rainbow to the Sun" (yes, I know but that's the title) and follows up with "Claimant Reclaimed" (with a indescribable jarring percussion/feedback sound that eeps out in the middle of the chorus - talk about yer hooks), the field-recording damaged "Lost in Forests" and my favorite song-title "Ape Thanks Lamb" and finally ends with his most powerful song on this collection "Vapour Steals the Glow"... (9 songs in all). As his label notes, this is "deceptively low-key" and if you listen to it as intended (no distractions, no TV, although midieval art books are allowed) it seems to trigger an emotional state that will take your breath away before the cigarettes do.

I'd recommend it for those neo-folk fans that like their stuff quiet and a little less commercial than the current kings of that scene (Sam Beam, uh, Kings of Convenience, etc.) - more like M. Ward, I guess, even down to the shared first initial of the name (M. Sweet) but less all over the place and more, if that's possible, minimalist in his approach. Sweet's influences draw from the same well as KoC - turtle-neck Simon and Garfunkel pop-folk but he brings in the Banhart/Animal Collective/Six Organs joy for the undiscovereds of the 60's/70's pschedelic scene. More to the point, if you liked the Red Hash reissue this past summer you might like this as it shares some of the same sense of quiet foreboding - "Grains" is perhaps the best example of this.

Songs (direct linked from Boduf Songs original label page):
"Puke a Pitch Black Rainbow to the Sun"

(note: if Blue Baby objects to direct-linking, please let me know and will take down)


Buy it:
Originally self-released/self-recorded as a CD-R and sent out to record labels as a demo, Kranky listened to it and decided to release it without re-recording. I got it for $12.00 plus shipping through Forced Exposure - here's their description (which probably came from Kranky):
"Boduf Songs is Mat Sweet, who lives in Southampton, England. He recorded some songs for Kranky as demos in early 2005 at home with an acoustic guitar, some cymbals, violin bow, toy piano, manipulated field recordings and a computer. With less than ideal equipment and under less than ideal conditions, he created songs with memorable melodies, artful arrangements and carefully placed effects that lend an air of surrealism to the album. Deceptively low key, Boduf Songs skirts between singer-songwriter, psychedelic, home recorder and folk modes, bringing an obtuse, angular minimalism to these forms. Listening to this music visions of a beautiful spring day in an English meadow come to mind.
Note to self: Get motivated - this weekend is a vinyl cleaning weekend! Yay to rain and insipid Xtian gatherings on the Mall since both keep me inside cleaning vinyl.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Various Artists: The Blasting Concept (Vol 1)

SST Records, 1983

... it's been much too long hasn't it (well, more than a week at least)? Well, the reason is that I'm playing another show this year and the rehearsal schedule has gotten frighteningly like a second job. I leave work directly to go to rehearsal (thank you Washington DC traffic) and then pretty much don't get home until 11PM. We have two more "hell weeks" and then performances start every weekend for several weeks. But I have two drum solos (Krupa style stuff) so I ain't complaining. At any rate, things may be a bit slow as my energy levels are getting depleted very quickly these days.

Here's an oldie that still has some listening value, if not just as an overview of the first five historic years of SST but then as a means to not just track the birth of a new subgenre but as a signpost to all the directions it might take from the political punk of minutemen, the pre-emo of Husker Du or the proto-C&W splatter of the Meat Puppets or even the free-weirdness of Saccharine Trust, the metalcore Overkill or the prog-metal-core Wurm.

I already have the best cuts from minutemen on here (the still relevant "Paranoid Chant"), and the Meat Puppets cuts (from their early releases) are no longer fresh enough to overcome their inherent awfulness (they got better and then got worse) and try as I might to like the more metal or formal punk groups here like Overkill, Stains and Wurm (with an umlaut), their cuts aren't just happening for me right now. No, the best cut belongs to a band I have normally disdained (here even!) and that's Saccharine Trust and their "A Human Certainty." This monster cut comes off their first (and perhaps best) album Pagan Icons although even at that, it's heads and shoulders above the rest of that album. I dunno - something clicked here between Baiza's distorto guitar-as-story-line or Jack Brewer's melancholy zombie vox. I never cut the consumerist mustard with S. Trust but I suppose if I did, I'd be seeking for follow-up to this most odd song.

Another treat here is listening to a progression of Black Flag songs from their first three records and how they give birth to a new subgenre without any sort of forethought and while they were still seemingly auditioning singers (three singers, three songs). "Nervous Breakdown" sounds pretty much like it would have fit in any late'70's L.A. It's good but nothing that would make you sit up and notice. It's in "Jealous Again" that they set themselves apart from the pack and give birth to hardcore. What were they listening to in the interim? Brit punk? Something definitely more angry and less ironic. An indefinable THING has crept in to the Black Flag psyche and smeared them with the blood of a new beast. The third song "I've Heard It Before" (from Six Pack) is ironic since you have heard it before as Suicidal Tendencies took the attitude and turned it into HC gold with their "Institutionalized" song. I've heard it again (and again, and again, and again). I much prefer the Black Flag version if only for the way it sounds like Greg Ginn has an angry rabid critter in his hands rather than just a guitar.

A word about the packaging. The cover illustration by Raymond Pettibon is among my favorites of his many, many illustrations. It shows a near-end coitus-murder act while a mushroom cloud spreads in the distance. Is the woman an active participant in the action or is she a victim? The nuclear cloud in the background doesn't help in deciding even if it indicates a inevitability. It could be one last brutal death-fuck before the end or somebody taking advantage of the breakdown in law and order in the final minutes. Her hair lays splayed out on the floor suggesting passivity and her grimace takes on a different meaning if you twirl the illustration around and look at it from a different angle (one of the interesting things that album art allows you to do, eh?). Also note that she's not really that passive as her finger nails are digging bloody scars into the man's torso. The album deserves a place in your collection if ony for this illustration.

The liner notes are a bit embarassing, though. I wonder if they paid Harvey Robert Kubernik (a Goldmine writer and consumate music industry insider) to pen this crap. It makes the record look less like a document of the first four years of an already legendary label and more like a desperate plea for attention from the "industry". Kubernik condescendingly notes "SST music has always reflected social and political consciousness. Gregory [heh] Ginn, Chuck Dukowski, Mike Watt, D. Boon and other lyricists on this round black document present evidence of their emotional expeditions for inspection and digestion" and it sounds like so much hippy pandering. At any rate, Husker Du's song "Real World" provides the answer to Kubernik and his types:

You're not a cop, or a politician
You're a person too
You can sing any song you want
But you're still the same

Chalk it up to the insular nature of the label - but I always wondered why Meltzer wasn't tapped.

Some Songs:
"Jealous Again" - Black Flag
"A Human Certainty" - Saccharine Trust


Sunday, October 02, 2005

NY Daily News Got It Wrong

A posting (news story?) by Dawn Eden at the New York Daily News site claims that I wrote something which I didn't about Jack White of the White Stripes. I didn't write it nor did I try to take credit for it. I have no idea why the NYDN and Ms. Eden said I did.

Jim H of Vinyl Mine ( believes that, if the experience of Zellweger's previous love, White Stripes guitarist Jack White, is anything to go by, Chesney's set for a creative windfall.

For proof, he offers an MP3 of the White Stripes' "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)."

Zellweger "has clearly drawn out some perverse extremes in Jack White's songwriting," Jim H writes, "as his gallant front crumbles into wounded pride, paranoia, and undiluted spite."

In fact, Matt Perpetua of Fluxblog wrote it and you can read it here. Please don't think that I stole this or was taking credit for it.

Thanks! And thanks to Large Hearted Boy for pointing it out in his Daily Shorties. Normally, I would be honored.

Jim H


Dawn writes to Matt (and cc's me) - as I suspected - an honest mistake - I'm the guy who writes about 20 year old music, Matt writes about tomorrow's stuff...:

Dear Matt,

I am so sorry for my goof in my column. I was
surfing the links from, trying to decide
which Web pages to write about, and--with both blogs open
on my screen--I confused them.
I will publish a correction in next week's
column. Again, my apologies.

All the best,