Saturday, December 30, 2006

The "Holidays" Are Officially Over...

...when the Toy of the Year is ritualistically burnt and the results are posted on the web.

Someone stick a Roomba on the top of a building now.

Don Cherry - Ed Blackwell: El Corazón


IF you've been paying attention many of the few jazz albums I own revolve around drummers, so (if you are familiar with jazz) you might think that Ed Blackwell (Ornette Coleman's go-to drummer) was the hook that got this baby in my collection. And you'd be wrong. My previous jazz flirtation was during the '70s with the jazz-rock types, Brubeck and Buddy Rich but my foray into free jazz begins (and ends - in a circular fashion) with Don Cherry.

I think I first saw his name as the guy playing on a bill with The Slits and he popped up in other places that I was wont to frequent in the '80s such as Lou Reed and Talking Heads albums. Tessa Pollit said Don "had something of the eternal about him: it was like he would never grow old. He told us so much." Lotsa people I considered 'in the know' would throw out casual references to him in the mid-80's so I kept my eyes open for albums with his name on. For the longest time, this album seemed to be calling to me from the Wayside Music cut-out bin ($3.00 if I remember) and I finally broke down and purchased it. In a way, Cherry was a sort of "gateway drug" for alot of free jazz leading me to Ornette and Miles and things that I had previously dismissed as boring old guy stuff.

Whatta relief that when this arrived that it wasn't some self-indulgent piece of crap -- I'm not gonna say so much of free jazz is "self-indulgent" crap but some of the derivative atonal stuff I still don't get unless I'm extremely fucked up.

No, Don Cherry was always more of a tonal guy in the free jazz realm - that meant that while improvisation was central to his thing, he wasn't afraid to sound pretty and melodic. You could see this influence come out in his stepdaughter Neneh Cherry (who also played with the Slits) and would later (briefly) make her own idiosyncratic name in the pop world. I am guessing her career was interupted since Tessa Pollit says she took care of Don in France in his final years.

In case you don't know, Don was on the Ornette Coleman breakthrough record (Shape of Jazz to Come) and played with such royalty as Coltrane, Miles, Sonny Rollins and so forth. Cherry, though, wasn't exactly considered jazz royalty - he was too eccentric and idiosyncratic to be tied down to a throne -- think of him more like a new world explorer constantly looking for things to do that were different, new and innovative.

Simply put, his experimentation put alot of others to shame. While he could have just coasted on his rep, trotting out the oldy moldies to appreciative club crowds, Cherry explored World Music (I recommend looking at his trio Codona), played with the punks and NYC avante-garde crowd and was known for championing odd instruments -- the pocket cornet, an African lute and the melodica were among the tools he carried around. He also played a sweet piano (as we shall see).

Ed Blackwell was known more as a "band's drummer" -- as he was able to provide a less rigid base for which others could improv and more importantly for certain egocentric frontmen he didn't try to hog the limelight. Peoples said his drumming "breathed" - that is, it didn't follow robotic rhythms or rigid rulesets. As for his style, Ornette said that Blackwell was "pure Africa coming through the New Orleans street beat."

Cherry and Blackwell were, of course, old friends from the Ornette days and this isn't the only album they collaborated on. Mu is perhaps the more famous of their collaborations and dates all the way back to 1969 when a two-person jazz record such as this was pretty damn radical. This album came out 13 years later and the principal difference is the higher level of experimentation in this album and the obvious advance in recording technology. This album came out in 1982 from a label in Germany and has such a wonderful tone to it. Acknowledgement must go to engineer Martin Wieland and producer and label owner Manfred Eicher for putting that together as they did. The sound is perfectly attuned to Cherry's trumpet and Blackwell's Sonor/Paiste drumkit. My only regret is that I don't have a better turntable as some of the inner tracks have some bleed which can be notable when Cherry is soloing in the last track ("Voice of the Silence").

Trying to digitize this became a challenge as it's often unclear when one track starts and another ends -- often the tracks are bridged by Blackwell's drumming - in a few cases you get the sense that Cherry just stops playing and Blackwell segues into a totally different improv. You can almost imagine Cherry sitting there with his tiny trumpet nodding and listening.

Purists beware, there is some overdubbing going on -- Cherry's piano playing often overlaps with his trumpeting. But for the most part, it sounds like Cherry and Blackwell are pretty atuned to each other and recording this live.

Lots of variety in the tracks. Although the basic motif is mid to high register trumpet with jazz drums, there's tracks sprinkled in throughout with piano, Cherry's melodica and log drums. The melodica was previously made famous by Stevie Wonder on his pop track "Isn't She Lovely" and I wonder if calling one the tracks "Mutron" isn't a shout-out to Wonder who endorsed the famous mutron pedal although from I can tell Cherry doesn't use the Mutron at all in this recording (pls correct me jazz-hounds if I'm wrong).

Blackwell takes quite a few solos including an extended log drum solo ("Near In") but his "Street Dancing" (see below) is my favorite as it illustrates his New Orleans march drumming style. Notice that he's playing it with a totally unmuffled bass drum and he manages to make the bass drum sound like a separate voice from the rest of the kit. What's amazing throughout is listening Blackwell's stream of conciousness drumming and picking out the single measure riffs. If you could isolate these one or two measures - just think of what you could grow on top of the basic beat -- assuming you could reproduce it. A sidebar to this paragraph: it may be my imagination but at one point I even hear him doing the theme song to Bonanza.

Cherry may have had better days - some of the early tracks his pitch occasasionally cracks (for that matter Blackwell hits the drum rims every so often to) but by the end of the album the somewhat brittle sound of the pocket trumpet really starts to feel warm and inviting. In the title track, "El Corazon", he brings home a stunning melody that's all the more compelling by its brevity and abrupt ending that segues into Blackwell's "Rhythm for Runner". Has anyone ever covered this song? Other highlights are the album opener - "Mutron" - which sets the tone for the trumpet-drum interplay and Cherry's piano-based cover of the Thelonius Monk/Denzil Best favorite "Bemsha Swing" -- a wonderfully simple yet complex song that Cherry played often during his time on earth. "Arabian Nightingale" has a sort of late night sexy feel to it. Ah hell, it's hard to find anyone track here that I don't like.

One of Cherry's trademarks was his Doussin' Gouni - aka the Hunter's Guitar -- I think it's best described as an African lute as it looks like a bigger version of that midieval instrument. He plays this in the Side 1 closer - "Makondi" - which has a world music feel to it and allows Blackwell to explore the cowbell (he actually lists cowbell along with drums and wood drum as his instruments in this album). Here, Cherry plays the Gouni almost like a drum although the instrument can be quite lyrical. I've included a track from the recently released Long Hidden: The Olmec Series, a criminally overlooked CD from this year which features the dousson gouni. It's played by William Parker who traces his interest in the instrument to meeting Don Cherry -- yet another legacy of the man.

Both Cherry and Blackwell are dead but some brief biographies of the two can read on their wiki pages and this Drummerworld tribute to Blackwell (lots of great photos). Cherry is a whole category at Destination: Out. Perfect Sound Forever published this tribute a year after Cherry's 1995 death.

Blackwell (left)l offers a hand to Cherry (right)

Photo from back of album by Ralph Quinke (all rights reserved of course)

(Tracks posted for short periods to spur discussion and thought about the artists)

Tracks from Cherry/Blackwell - El Corazon (recorded from vinyl):
  • "Makondi" - Don Cherry - Ed Blackwell - written by Don Cherry
  • "El Corazon" - Don Cherry/Ed Blackwell - written by Cherry
  • "Street Dancing" - Don Cherry/Ed Blackwell - written by Ed Blackwell
El Corazon was reissued in CD by ECM and appears to be out of print. However, the ECM website based in UK is still selling copies.

"Long Hidden, Part 3" - William Parker - from Long Hidden: The Olmec Series CD (2006). Aquarius Records is carrying this CD.

Update: By coincidence Forced Exposure listed MU (part 1) this week as a vinyl reissue. Here's the blurb:


Artist: CHERRY, DON
Title: "Mu" First Part
Label: BYG RECORDS (WORLD'S LEADING TERRORIST STATE)
Format: LP
Price: $13.00
Catalog #: BYG 001LP
These are grey-area exact repros of the original BYG Actuel LP series from the early 70s, seem to be of a better general quality than the previous Get Back reissues -- and more readily available. "Originally recorded on August 22nd, 1969 at Studio Saravah in Paris, this album became the first one of the whole BYG/Actuel series. Don Cherry's electrifying duets with Ed Blackwell are memorable. 6 tracks. Gatefold sleeve, 180 gram HQ vinyl."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Be afraid...

From Wired.com's 2006 Foot in Mouth Awards which could very much be the scariest quote of the decade:

"I want to squirt you a picture of my kids. You want to squirt me back a video of your vacation. That's a software experience."
-- Ballmer, riffing on the virtues of the Zune.

Ballmer wants me to squirt him with my vacation after his kids squirt me?! WTF? And people wonder* why the Zune is the biggest electronics disaster of the year. An embarassing 2% market share (November) despite all the bribing they tried with music blogs and fake blogs...

*actually people don't wonder...

And in case you need to recover from the images Ballmer evokes, Pelt has announced their Christmas shows - you gotta be in the heart of Virginia, though, to catch them:

Upcoming Shows ( view all )
Dec 27 2006 10:00P
Ipanema richmond, Virginia
Dec 28 2006 8:00P
Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar charlottesville, Virginia

Monday, December 25, 2006

This ain't no bartending blog, but...


Here's a very little known winter-Christmas drink recipe via my grandfather, who died this year, which he brought from Old Europe:

RAUREIF
  • 1/4 freshly squeezed lemon juice (you can mix it up with some Real Lemon if you tire of squeezing lemons)
  • 1/4 Cointreau
  • 10%-1/8 White Rum
  • 1/8 - 10% Grenadine
  • 1/4 Gin
(the above is updated from an earlier posting)

Handstir ingredients until blended in large pitcher.

Mix with a small amount of crushed ice to dilute and refridgerate until ready to serve.

Strain the crushed ice out when serving.

Best to serve in small cocktail glasses rimmed with granulated sugar (you can wet the edges of the cocktail glasses with the remaining lemon slices the twist in a bed of sugar crystals).

In fact this last step is really what, besides its bite, gives Raureif its name as the crystals represent the strange ice growths, I suppose (see below for explanation).

This drink can be served early in the day prior to dinner. Warning, it packs a punch as you might guess.

Learning Annex: The Germans have a word for everything even rarely and often bizarrely formed resublimated water vapour... via Wikipedia:

Raureif is a firm precipitation, which forms directly from the water vapour contained in air by Resublimation. For this a very high relative air humidity of over 90% and an air temperature of under -8 are necessary °C. The developing warmth is transferred thereby by convection to surrounding air, in addition, therefore wind increases the formation of Raureif, may not be to strong, in order not to destroy the sensitive structures. Particularly needle-shaped ice crystals in form of sechsstrahliger dendrites against the wind direction, which can to achieve a substantial size and bizarre forms and to grow usually only slowly, develop. Raureif "grows"against the wind, since luff-laterally arriving air possesses a higher humidity than in the Lee. The phenomenon of the emergence of Raureif arises comparatively rarely and with hoar frost or Raufrost is often confounded, for which it represents a kind of provisional stage. A special form of the Raureifs are ice flowers.


...the picture swiped from
Wikipedia as well.

So it is actually Christmas


I can let go of my Christmas season hate and disgust and be happy to celebrate the holiday for what it is. Three hours last night at midnight mass choking down incense was a bit too much but anything for my brother (who was singing). So, let the sapple and non-ironic treacle flow freely! It's Christmas morn - go gets me a friggin' turkenduck, bwah!

"Lo, How a Rose Is Blooming" - Kathleen Battle

(and yes, R.I.P. the Other King, James Brown, Living in America 2006)

Friday, December 22, 2006

... and a happy fucking new year, turds


Some mea culpas from the last posting - there were several essential blogs I left off and I have yet to throw into my blogroll. One is Nick Sylvester's RiffMarket which has been just plain Jesusbreath in the past few weeks doing his Year In Riffs - with all his lil' buddies contributing hilarious write-ups about the year that was. The above is a frame from Farley Katz's comic strip about Kanye and Drudge living togther. Go here to read the whole thang. Other highlights are Sylvester's year-end riffage -- which I'm guessing he didn't construct in 35 minutes -- but I'm waiting for the next great novel to come outta this boy's hands (despite that Warlocks review, you, you asstripe!). And don't miss Danny Chun slaying Zach Braff:
But it's not these LA hipster icons I'm here to find either. The man I seek is off by himself in a corner, clearly intoxicated -- not with alcohol, but with music. So with a reverent wave, I approach Zach Braff. He holds up a finger to silence me as he listens to his iPod. After 20 seconds of what can only be described as intense grooving, he removes the headphones.

"Sorry -- I was just listening to this great new artist called Cat Power. I discovered her out of nowhere when she did a 40-minute set on KCRW followed by 2 Amoeba in-stores. But pretty soon she won't be just my little secret anymore." He is referring to Cat Power's inclusion on his soundtrack to Staring At Nothing, his latest movie, which stars Braff, Scarlett Johannson, Jessica Biel, Keira Knightley, Jessica Alba, Anne Hathaway, and Dustin Hoffman.

"It's about how strange this thing we call life can be," explains Braff. "Like in one scene my character meets a guy who walks around covered in bees. And there's a guy who only talks in Pig Latin. And a guy whose guts are all on the outside of his body. And a guy who lives in a trash can like Oscar the Grouch. And -- spoiler alert -- the ending is that my character meets a guy who walks around with chopsticks up his nose. That's when he learns that sometimes love is just a four-letter bed where your heart sleeps."
Yeah, easy target but one deserving of a couple more pokes than he has given us. I used to kinda like Scrubs in that sorta hate-Zach-but-like-the-supporting-cast kinda way but, man, it's become like a "Very Special Episode of Scrubs" almost every night now.

Another blog that I've given homage to in the past just deserves to be in everyone's RSS feed and that's Siltblog. Major props by the way I guess to Times New Viking for getting a leg up with Matador signage. I hope they totally destroy rock and roll and the label in the process. Fuck h'yah.

Some more random rubber-necking on the Information Super-HI-YAH!-way:

- Defuck Australia and the one-legged sphlyitic kangaroo their bewigged judiciary and asshole lawyers rode in on.
- And while I'm getting all he-man blogging in my underwear, defuck Myspace. What a fucking crawl you go through just to log-in and post a comment on some band's worthless blog. I swear it took me thirty minutes to do that. What's funny is that at work the company that provides their filesystem and "storage solution" has been marketing me and I totally shut them down. PROPS! And then there's this.
- And now for some other PROPERS. Black Flag unreleased cassette with the Rollins/Ginn/Dukowski/Dez/Biscuits line-up. Slobber, slobber.
- Mountain Goats: Thanks for the new song.
- Aberdeen City countrifies Low's Christmas song. Now can Low do a cover from the band called Christmas - that would be boss.
- The lost and probably censored Ren and Stimpy cartoon
- Josh Feit re-deconstructs the Kim Gordon - Chuck D "Kool Thing" banter - turns out Chuck was the Kool Thing, not Kim. Huh... and here all along I never really gave a shit.
- Aw man, this will make like an awesome mix CD -- WFMU's Make Your Own Alternative Jesus Christ Superstar (although as a Catholic, I have to point out to Station Manager Ken that this would probably be something you post at Easter, not Christmas...). But whatever, as I never knew Cuz did a cover of "What's The Buzz"
- Now for some eddication, the author of The Physics of The Buffyverse writes a nifty science posting on Mayan acoustic archeology on Three Quarks.
- Another melancholy Christmas mix at I Guess I'm Floating

And finally, remember, sometimes love is just a four letter bed where your heart sleeps...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Top 14 Best (Audio) Blogs of The Here and Now

When I go out and look at what are supposed to be the "top" Mp3 blogs, I usually get green - not with envy but with nausa, so I need a good tonic to show there really are some other people out there that care, have new ideas, not all about maximizing advertisement income, aren't cynically trying to break into the Biz, boost their fragile egos or get on the promo "gravy" train.

To me, these are the real competition... enjoy finding some new friends. (Please note to all those on my blogroll, I rilly rove you guys but one of my criteria in this exercise was to go outside the 'roll for some new links)...



Destination: Out (rss) -- a two most knowledgable cats that you oughta know -- especially if you're tired of that same old indie and want to dip your toe into that fire and brimstone and sweetness and light that is free jazz.

Bumrocks (rss) -- this is an old-timer that I had forgotten about and this year rediscovered. No blithering aspiring ad copy or lame sophmore creative writing class puke - just a song per day to check out. If you like the band or cut, you're on your own to find out more as he doesn't provide links to bands or albums - but isn't that what makes the internet so much fun?

Indieish (rss) - Normally, my strict criteria would eliminate anybody who has "indie" in their blog title but we'll make an exception for this guy. His deal is that he only posts music from bands that have signed up to the Creative Commons licsense thereby keeping himself legal, not having to go ask permissions AND also putting himself out the mainstream/lamestream of most "indie" blogs. And yet, there's an awesome amount of good tunage in the commons. He's up to Day 344 so you could spend for like ever going through this one cuz the links rarely expire.

Jacob Sudol (rss) - Ever wonder what a blog might be like if a modern classical composer did one? Well, it ain't too bad 'specially if you're willing to open up your ears to some new and interesting sounds. Who knew that a contrabassoon could sound like bowed gongs, huh? Huh?

jefitoblog (rss) - A kind of ongoing mockery of the cheesy side of 70's and 80's that has some sort of relationship with this blog. If you read one, you get inside jokes on the other. Not that I have the time to do that but nostalgia is one bitch that is seductive and you hate yourself (in a good way) for clicking on the Bishmas record or the old Hall and Oates Jingle Bell Rock video. I guess during the rest of the year it's a more conventional albeit snarky music blog.

KinoSport (rss) - The upshot of this one is that the person who writes it travels alot and photographs alot. Beautiful photographs. Unlike most music blogs which read like high school try-out essays for internships at record labels, the entries actually read like a personal diary type blog - either interesting observations or random discourse on cigarettes and junk like that. The music is generally electronic house or clash (or is it techno? whatever) , so eh on that, but worth a listen or two just to confirm that I'm not missing anything by ignoring techno.

My Heart Is Made of Gravy (rss) - Like the Kinosport travel-photo-music hybrid above, Gravy Heart here takes his often funny doodles and finds a song that exactly fits the mood or subject. Unfortunately, he hasn't posted for a month -- so maybe this attaboy will give him some motivation to come back.

Old Blue Bus - If you like where Jack Rose is coming from or some of the Appalachia aspects of Ms. Newsom, you might be interested in checking Old Blue Bus out since they're into the "real thing". It's old timey and bluegrass and quite active. Believe it or not, 2006 was a good year for Old Time music according to the Bus. Not sure what the rss is but Google Reader had no problem swallowing it.

White Noise Revisited
- Shoeglazer pop rock electro melodic -- oh kay pretty damn eclectic UKie blog that has introduced me to a couple acts I might have normally ignored. I couldn't figure out the RSS but Google Reader had no problem.

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep (rss) - Another UK blog that is the best of the "indie" blogs - and trust me there are many, many out there. It's got a real fanzine feel, loyalty to the bands it loves and not afraid to go out on a limb with a CD that might not be on the "Cool List". It's a bit sparse on the MP3 front as they don't own any dedicated download space but that's okay.

Home of the Groove - Downhome New Orleans music blog. Learn your history here and catch some great funk blues jazz from the Big Easy. Rss is working - just don't ask me what it is.

A Beef Sandwich w/ Sweet and Hot Peppers (rss)- This is more of an honorable mention because every Saturday the proprietor of this blog digs up an old Sammy Davis, Jr. video on YouTube and that's just too damn cool not to give 'em props for.

Disquiet.com (rss)- Alas, there aren't enough noise and experimental music blogs out there. But there' s Disquiet. Usually a few weeks ahead of The Wire.

The Trust Fund (rss) - Some Pitchfork / Dusted / Stylus reviewers you love to hate have their own blog so you can go and hate on them there, too. The thing is, they can actually write and it's so refreshing to see professionally strung together sentences in a music blog. I'm not saying this is a prerequisite for a good blog, just that the English language can be enjoyable when it's wielded by practiced hands, if that makes any sense. Also refreshing that they aren't out chasing the latest whatever buzz or whatever. Cute and telling name, though.


This posting made possible by Hype Machine's massive blog list...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Get Behind Me, Kiddies

ShiSho - which is sort of a Kids and Dad band for the pre-Smoosh crowd - cover Sufjan Steven's "Get Behind Me Santa" as a fun revenge for what looks like Sufjan stealing their title. It's what you would expect - nothing great but kinda funny and fun - cute, but of course. Great mash-up photo for the cover of their single, too.

You can download the cover and more on their page.

More than Milk was the first blog -- I think -- to cover this and they're also offering the songs for download (including the Sufjan song) - the links are effed up right now but I'm sure he'll fix 'em.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Joseph Barbera, 1911-2006



Thinking about it now, Hanna-Barbera cartoons had a greater influence on my childhood than I realize, telling me it was okay to be thieving, gluttonous bear-like person.

My personal issues aside, don't remember him for the Smurfs and ScoobyDoo which are only popular because they sucked so much - instead remember him for Yogi, Quickdraw McGraw and The Jetsons.

At any rate, one of the creators of those wacky childhood cartoons - precursors to Family Guy and Ren & Stimpy is dead. Enjoy your pic-a-nic basket...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My big assraping demo is finally over...

So... my ass can finally rest (and then immediately go out and do Chritmas shopping for like 30 people, attend a zillion boring parties and then drive three hours to the homestead to do the same).

Here's a heart warming Christmas story about Rush Limbaugh's favorite seasonal band all made possible because an Atlantic record executive had a bad coke habit:

Jason protests that this is impossible, that Savatage is a horrible heavy metal band, their record is NEVER gonna appear on Top Forty radio. But then the report comes in that Scott Shannon is TALKING ABOUT THE RECORD, how fucking GREAT IT IS!

Turns out, at the end of the last album, there’s a Christmas track, and THAT’S garnering all the action. So Jason gets Savatage’s producer, Paul O’Neill, on the phone, and tells him to make a whole ALBUM of Christmas music, to come up with a new name, that they’ve got a GOLD MINE! Soon Paul calls back and says he’s got it, "Trans-Siberian Orchestra", what does Jason think?

Jason says he’s clueless, after all he’s a Jew, but it seems fine to him.

Bonus linkage: Calexico Peel session... a GPS-MP3 FM broadcaster so you can what let people know where you're broadcasting from?... WFMU's BwtB noise/sound collage challenge contest...



Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Exploited: Death Before Dishonour



Combat Rock, 1987

With all the loathsome Christmas music being pushed on blogs this week (although I suppose it's just as loathsome as what they were pushing last week), I need a fucking break, so let's pull out some old unrelenting and unapologetic punk.

In the 80's, my job took me all around the country and it seemed every punk venue I visited had at least one kid with the serious Wattie worship -- the beautifully handmade/mutilated leather jacket with The Exploited and the skull mohawk logo --- oh and the kid would have a rooster-mohawk too. The band seemed to have a good but loyal following but I never really got on the bandwagon. Course I never saw them live so maybe that might have been a clincher.

Although the politics that framed this record has gone kind of stale, there's still a couple keepers here -- as with lots of 'core of the time, the anger is directed outwards towards that mythical "they" but even so, it's a coincidence that all three of my favorite songs are "They" songs.

"Drive Me Insane" - is a good and still pretty current roar of anger against, well, all the crap that drives you insane. This would be great for an anti-Christmas Music mix tape.

"They Don't Really Care" shows the band flirting with the Great Metalwhore that destroyed so many other good bands and they come out of it still full of stink but looking good enough. There's guitar solos and a stab at a lazy marching drum break. But I like it for the nostalgic twinge I get every time I hear Wattie scream, "Maggie, ya fuckin' cunt."

"Anti-UK" is great for bedroom slamdancing - anger can be exhilarating. I have no real idea what it's about -- I'm guessing Wattie's mad that he, a former soldier, is being called "Anti-UK" when the politicians (there's that "they" again) with their "pre-election lies" are the real anti-UK ones. Mmm'kay?

Band line-up (one of hundreds, it seems):
  • Tony - bass
  • Nig- Guitars
  • Willie - Drums and Guitar
  • Wattie - Vocals
Wait a sec... am I in a political band that parties or a party band that politicizes?

Exploited Links:
The Exploited's Official Web page -- they (or should I say Wattie) are still alive and kicking and just finished a small Contintental Europe tour which included Russia and Turkey.

Although, as usual Wikipedia offers a much better summation of the band than a band's official web page including a full discography and band member history.

In case you care, Wattie now sports a dreadlocked Mohawk, still orange. Not sure if that qualifies as a comb-over.

The punk cognoscenti, when you mentioned The Exploited, sneer and say that only their early 7"ers are good - that these later LPs were Combat Rock schlock. In order to forestall those potential comments in this here blog, those 7"ers are still mostly available in vinyl.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More grist for the mill...don't worry an old-school VM post is upcoming

She preaches, she teaches, she nags. This is a good thing?

But Dr. Laura is so '90's. This will never sell... You know, with a few changes to the hairdo, get her out of the yellow pantsuit (eeeeee) and add some more snappy biting sarcasm and voila - the Jane Hamsher Action Figure. Market it right and it will fly off the shelves. Maybe with a mini-sized replica of "The Kiss" parade float wagon.


Wussy Band's Equipment Was Too Wussy for Stick-Up Guys

Norfolk and Western didn't like DC
:

After the show, as we were loading out our equipment, our van was surrounded by what I can only assume were six or seven gang members complete with bandanas and masks over their faces. They just stood there, staring at us shoving thousands of dollars worth of equipment into the van piece by piece. A couple of them even leaned up against the van, casually smoking cigarettes. Corrina got pissed off and said, “You guys want some of this shit?” to which one of them replied, “Fuck yeah, I want some of this shit. I’ve got thirty years, bitch.”
What he was really sarcastically commenting on was the fact that he didn't want some 30-year old accordian, a banjo and a half of a drum set after all. (via DCist)


The Slog Tracks Whore Searching

The perversion of we human laid bare once again by the wonderous Internet. The Slog finds a site that tabulates statistics for words and phrases searched on popular search engines:

Let's take, for example, "whore". The top five searched phrases including the word whore are Asian whore, teen whore, black whore, Japanese whore and myspace whore. Each of those has over 16,800 searches a month. Other races lag rather far behind -- Thai whore clocks in at 11,400 and white whore is all the way down at 8,677. Still, all raced whores were searched relatively frequently. Down near the bottom of the list are "disney whore" with 3,742 (searching that takes you to down the subculture spiral of cartoon porn, which I find bizarre and surreal mostly because I've never thought to imagine Lilo & Stitch or Chuckie from Rugrats fucking anything) and "older fat whore" (not just old, older) at 3,458.
Myspace whores? Where can I get one?




Some Vinyl Mine Seal of Approvalzzzz

- Karen Dalton - "Katie Lied" - I'm not another person jumping on this revival bandwagon for this long-dead psyche-folk hero. Matter of fact, I cant' really stomach much of her stuff that I've heard -- she sounds a little bit TOO much like Billie Holiday for me to take her as genuine - but Billie never sang folk (or at least I don't think so) nor did she pick guitar "like Jimmy Reed" but I kinda like this 1971 song anyway. via Leaky Sparrow

- The Ponys - "Double Vision" - You can have your Of Montreal, this (and this) is the 2007 release I'm kinda anticipating. via Matablog.

- Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - "Graceland" (cover) via Pitchfork Newsblog

- Jeff Buckley Live at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel - via Kwaya Na Kisser

- Pretty Girls Make Graves 2002 Peel Session via The Runout Groove

How to Use Spam for Personal Profit

Well, maybe not personal profit but you know, I'm fascinated by making up names for bands that will never exist. It came to me recently that email spam headers make for great band names. Here's a couple I pulled this morning (I'm keeping one for my own band):

  • It false
  • Bulge
  • Quintoplet
  • Ubags
  • Punctua Persienne
  • brigad speechles
  • Glovers
  • B-Diary
  • Primrose
  • Lipstick tacos
  • Journales Corruptione
  • Ritalian
  • Axle
  • Eplus
  • I No Mail
  • Re: Have Producer
  • Why be an average guy?
  • Polyp Proe
  • Involve Malaria
  • No One Precious
Frank Kogan who wrote the groovin' 80's "zine" (more like an extended Socratic dialogue) called Why Music Sucks is still grooving on teenage girl bubblegum pop. He lists his latest Pazz and Jop poll singles of 2006 here. I have only heard one song from this list!

Another 80's figure (at least for me), Exene Cervanka has published a book that looks pretty much like what she showed off in that X movie.

R.I.P. Marsika Veres aka that chick from Shocking Blue... Tim Ellison does a YouTube trib.

Coolfer on the slow tortured death of the cassette
. One thing keeping the cassette alive are prison inmates who can't be sent CDs since they can be turned into a weapon.

Last Plane to Jakarta (John D. from Mountain Goats) is doing a 30 poem tribute to black metal. Each day seems to be in a different style of another poet, often comments on events of the day and seem to be written while on tour (since they often sound like a travelogue). Oh and each poem is about Black Metal.

I'm guessing which poet this is part tribute to - although he loses the feel in the last stanza by getting too flowery:

two

Whether I approve of his methodology
or not, friends,
there is a man in France

who, once in a while,
steals an evening in a local studio
or perhaps only in his bedroom

overlooking an alley
or a field
or a street.

Sealed safely away inside,
he dreams out loud the original sound
of all the world's volcanos

at the great moment
of their simultaneous and unknowable
awakening.

It's not the volcanos that do it for me.
It's the guy in France
in the room I can half-imagine

chasing sleep down like a starved hound
standing at the precipice of his dream
shielding his eyes.





Thursday, November 30, 2006

Music at Airports

It's nominally better here at Boston Airport than BWI. This morning in BWI treated to all the bad AM songs of the 70's coming from the crappiest loudspeaker in the world: America, Fleetwood Mac's worst song ("Don't Stop thinking about whatever"), Devo's "Whip it", and on and on. Now I'm in Boston, it's only nominally better - Bowie's "Heroes" leads into Billy Joel's "Piano Man" - wtf? Why can't they just contract with Eno for more Music for Airports? Speaking of Eno... oh and here's my award for Biggest Dick of the Week...fuck you Velvet Lounge is a GODAWFUL place to see a band.... her'es a cool localish blog idea -- I oughta do this for DC. A Rifle Sport that links back to me even if I don't agree with what he's saying I'm sayin... ennywayz.... No Fun Fest has announced their 2007 line-up. I am officially out of it -- I have never heard of any of these bands. Finally, the buzz movie of the new few month's will be Pan's Labyrinth. You heard it and saw it here first.

They're now playing "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads. I gotta scram.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Love Song Cycle

Out of the blue today, a friend sends an email saying he won't be at work next Monday because he's signing his divorce papers. I happened to be going out to dinner with him and some others tonight and so I got a chance to ask him about it.

"I thought I told you about it."

"You didn't. How are you doing?"

"OK"

"So, are you staying in your house? Where's [name redacted] staying?"

"Yes. She's living in another state.

We've been spending the last few weeks getting everything settled."

"Uh. Are you still friends, then?

"We're friendly. Yes."



I. Infatuation. The chorus is what you are really thinking. The verses are what you say outloud or to yourself.

"Charborg" - This is Pinback - Pinback.

II. Love, marriage, ritual, promises. But. You make all the right noises but the sound doesn't come through.

"Feather" - Hello Dear Wind - Page France

III. Downfall. Self-destruction. All solace comes from the bottom of a bottle full of fire. Tragedy is always literal. Liquor is your coat.

"Liquorcoat" - from Invisible Jet - Black Helicopter


Photo by Stan used under Creative Commons liscense

We interrupt your work week for a few links



The mighty WFMU has the full joke Big Black "minus-one" interview album up for listening, mash-up, sound collage, movie soundtrack, whatever pleasure. Let me know if any of this is used for any of the above.

Not alot more than that for fresh links...


Current playlist:
After the Curtain (live) - Beirut
Montana Sacra II - Bardo Pond
Sometimes I Don't Get You - Yo La Tengo
My Fren - Envelopes

Monday, November 27, 2006

Charalambides video


While I think the Weird Weeds are fine and everything, they still have a long way to go to reach the improv and vocal proficiency of fellow Austinites Charalambides Christina and Tom Carter (who introduced the Weeds to each other).

As evidence, immerse yourself in a French documentary performance and interview video of the band doing their thing. People treat me strange when I say their latest album is among my favorites of this year, perhaps the favorite. I look at them with pity although I understand their issues - the band's name is one of the hardest to remember how to spell.

Hat tip: Klang blog
Long-term storage for video here

"Saturday" by Io Perry


I heard this song featured on Moral Orel and had to hear it again. The band name is Io Perry.

"Saturday" - Io Perry

UPDATE: Moral Orel creator Dino Stamatopoulus must be a big fan - Io is his number #1 friend on his myspace account.

picture via the band's myspace

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Revisiting SXSW 2006, Part 3


Band: The Weird Weeds

What I said back then about "
Holy Train Wrecks": "Weird Weeds use acoustic guitar folk as a jumping off point to make what is in its essential "art" music - here describing the quiet before and after an accident."

What's happened since March:
  • After two records that saw the band careen between a folk-pop outfit that uses improv and noise elements towards a improv-noise band that colors outside the lines of folk and pop, the band released a long-player in August entitled Weird Feelings that sees them comfortably plopped somewhere in between those two extremes.
  • Two on-air performances hither and yon
  • An east coast college and NYC/Chicago tour completed. A west coast tour is about to kick off which will include dates with Gray Daturas, Jana Hunter and Dead Science
  • Recently announced is a split 7" with Shapes and Sizes that will kick off a new Asthmatic Kitty project called Unusual Animals - streaming here.
Myspace stats:
Fun Fact: The Weird Weeds utilize Creative Commons license 2.5 which allows free distribution for non-commercial purposes

Hype Machine Buzz: Low to Medium... Well-liked on popular MP3 blog GvsB (their second appearance) but more likely to be seen in MP3 blog mixes such as the recent Communications Major mix here.

Mp3s:
"The Butcher" from This is What You Want EP - entire album available for download here
"Ribs and Wrinkles" from Hold Me -- more downloads here
"For You To See Me" from most recent release Weird Feelings

Photo taken from and instore at Austin's End of an Ear record store - they got a ton of other band photos here and here for your viewing enjoyment.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Squeezin Out Some Link-in Logs


It's that random time of the month/week/day to lay some rad linkage and news on my bitches (that's YOU). And like these aging superheros, we're gonna take our time squeezing this out and milk it for all its worth. Photo via Gilles Barbier, link via boingboing


First let's get the whole Vinyl Mine Seal of Approval shit over with. It's getting old and I'm too lazy to go find the image and link to it... No more seal but here's some worthy music and mp3 blogs/websites that you outcha be czchecking out:

SEAL OF APPROVAL:
RIAA Hate Dept:
"Finally, the RIAA is arguing against the defendant's counter-filing for legal fees in the case of Elektra vs. Schwartz. Although to early to tell how this may unfold, the liability for legal costs incurred by a defendant who is able to successfully defend themselves against an RIAA lawsuit is an important hurdle for the RIAA. To date, potential liability for the defendant's legal fees have been the only viable weapon against the expansion of the RIAA's paramilitary legal wing."

GOOD NEWS DEPT:
UPCOMING DC SHOWSZZZZ OF NOTE:



Bonus MP3. Boing-Boing said some nice things about Sophe Lux so I found their myspace page. Not sure I'd say she's PJ Harvey meets Freddy Mercury - more like Kate Bush meets Blonde Redhead and so I'm digging this one song (the others so-so) and since the tags are all screwed up on myspace, here's another way to download it: "Target Market" - Sophe Lux

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Revisiting SXSW 2006, Part 2


Band: Vague Angels (aka Chris Leo)

What I said back then about "Princess and The Newt": "Chris Leo's lyrics read like the internal voice of a novelist which, in fact, he is."

What's happened since SXSW:

Fun Fact (powered by Google!):

Per his book website, Chris Leo scored the highest on the Manhattan Tour Guide test. Here's a sample question from the new, revised guide:

Considered to be Britain's "last romantic poet," Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) was a conundrum as a writer. He was a Welsh poet who could neither read nor write in Welsh. Having become an intrinsic part of the bohemian scene of Greenwich Village, Dylan Thomas lived only to the age of 39. The end came after a binge of almost monumental proportions. He said: "I've had 18 straight whiskies. I think that's the record." Then he collapsed. At which noted Greenwich Village watering hole did this take place?

a) The Lion's Head
b) Chumley's
c) The White Horse
d) The Corner Bistro
answer

Myspace Stats:
  • 668 Friends
  • Band buddies include: Selma Travels, The Gang and Earl GreyhoundHype Machine Buzz: Down in the noise. A half-hearted Fluxjob in March and since then a Who Needs Radio
  • mention

    MP3:
    "The Vague Angels of Vagary" - One sentence description: Geographical displacement and the mystery of women are sewn together into one botched up blanket patterned with silky beat prose recitation over a suede repetitive chord progression.

    A Very Special Vague Angels Thanksgiving MP3:
    "Holiday Guitar"

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Revisiting SXSW 2006's Favorite Bands, Part 1


    A new feature in which I go back to see what happened to my touted '06 SXSW bands and see what they're up to since April...

    Band: Ume

    Home: Austin, TX

    What I said back then about "Wake":
    "Lauren Larson's ice-chipped voice starts, uh, crooning and it all kinda makes even less sense - which in effect becomes the charm of the song. She sounds like my cat used to sound when he had a sore throat. The song is kinda like a lost prog-diddle from Scrawl's Smallmouth."
    What's happened since SXSW '06:
    • Appeared on a deathbomb compilation with Xiu Xiu and Captain Ahab.
    • Two week tour through midwest and east coast with likes of Dogme 95, Gorch Fork and CMJ showcase
    • Local (Houston and Austin circuit) shows with Ladyhawk, Oneida and Blood on the Wall
    Myspace Stats:
    Hypemachine Buzz: None. Flatlining.

    Website MP3 of note:
    "Manic" - As Supervillian L. Swirlgazegirl gestures towards the heavens with calloused hands, twitches uncontrollably and causes mass flooding in Death Valley '69, her henchmen and assorted fellow villians cackle gleefully. From 2005 release Urgent Sea.

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    Michael Zapruder - Kennedy Center, 11/20/06


    One of the neat things about living where I live is that I'm about a block or so from the Kennedy Center. Every night, 365 days a year, the Center hosts the free Millenium concerts. Last night brought us Michael Zapruder who was behind the 52 songs idea and now buys rare records for the Pandora project. Several other music bloggers have picked up on him and Pitchfork gave him a 3.5 stars for one of the tracks on his most recent release.

    His songs are of the singer-songwriter variety, soulful, heartfelt - very reminiscient of the Elvis Costello - Burt Bacharach collaboration of several years back or Bruce Cockburn unplugged. In fact, Zapruder's voice sounds very much like Elvis Costello. I know, normally, yeccch but I was in a mood for it (facing up to the holidays without Mom).

    Some nice non-traditional chord and fret work on the acoustic guitar and two songs at the Kennedy Center's baby grand. Eachnotesecure calls his work "delicate songwriting." Actually, I'm thinking that there is a little bit of insanity in Zapruder's songs though you could hardly tell - he does wipe away a tear every once in awhile. The highlight of the set were his two songs on piano, "Wounded Bird" (Mp3 link) and "Blackhawk" (which appeared on this 2004 book-CD compilation).

    You can see the video (small picture but good resolution and sound) of the performance here (the piano songs are about 16 minutes into it) and there are more MP3s available on Zapruder's website.