Friday, April 28, 2006

Stream New Neil Young Album


go here and click through... through a couple songs and it songs like he's got his mode on again...

Friday Night Friday Download Night

I know its been awhile awhile and I hope to have some tasty old vinyl tasty stuff up tonight but usual blogger excuses apply (working busy at work, pleasing the lady friend please and, oh yeah, my Mom has some sort of brain cancer and she's losing her memory... oh yeah, that)...

Anyway, I dismissed The Golden Dogs when I was sweeping my SXSW sweep a few weeks ago and with righteous cause cuz the lame song they had up for download ("Birdsong") was pretty lame. But while sitting in traffic and thumbing through the latest Paste compilation/sampler (also for the most part, lame), their song called "Yeah!" kept me coming back for more, and more and then roll down my window and turn it up more and then repeat it again.

So....I notice a few thingie things worth noticing - the phrase "no way out" is used a lot and I liked that other song called "No Way Out" released by Love of Diagrams (and theirs sort of a kindred kinship between these two bands whether they know it or not), the song has a sort of Rolling Stones ba-ba-bada-ba-ba-ba vocal response (and the Stones' best songs like "Spend the Night Together" and "Paint It Black" almost always had some sort of nonsense la-la-la vocal thing in them) and the song itself is in 7/4 and I'm always a sucker for weird meters in pop songs.

I don't know why that's important but the combination of all these elements might contribute to my inability to get it off my CD player. Hope it makes your Friday night prep...

"Yeah!" - The Golden Dogs

Props: Culture Bully beat me to this...

Update: Coke Machine Glow reviewed this last year and said its a reissue of a 2003 album... they loved "Birdsong" but don't mention "Yeah!"

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

Various Artists: The Secret Team


Bomp/Voxx Records, 1988

Everyone should know the story by now of Bomp! and the late Greg Shaw... 60's fan of longhair rock, dispirited in the '70's as rock petered out, starts a fanzine that draws the likes of Bangs and Meltzer and then starts one of the first small rock labels publishing the likes of Devo, Iggy Pop, Flamin' Groovies, embraces punk in '77, starts power-pop (new wave) with Stiv Bators, Plimsouls, Josie Cotton regrets starting powerpop when the majors embrace the term and push limpdick posers, pushes on, starts Voxx Records to allegedly publish "purist" garage rock (by 1988 Bomp and Voxx are pretty much interchangeable enterprises), sparks a neo-garage movement in the 80's and 90's (Cramps, BJM, Warlocks) -- which lays the groundwork for the holy ascension (and current freefall) of the Strokes, Yeah-Yeah-Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys and Hives-- but on the other hand has helped sustain and spark Greenhornes, White Stripes, Racontours and so on so it wasn't all bad.

Back in the olden days before myspace and MP3 blogs, labels had to (and still do) put out limited run, low price compilations to generate consumer heat for their bands. God knows they weren't getting played on the radio -- college radio maybe but in that period most college radio just took cues from NME and The Face and played Brit Pop -- or anywhere else for that matter. So records like The Secret Team come out and they're kinda fun records - getting one to go through what were no doubt Greg's personal picks (he provides loving liner notes for each cut on the back of the album) from a hell of a diverse bunch - about the only think holding them together was lo-fi/DIY recordings and maybe a shared sense of bathos -- I mean how ridiculous is it to be in a garage band in 1988? Might as well laugh. Pretty damn ass cool if you ask me but it wasn't like you were going to quit your day or night job with the residuals or gig take (and so it goes today for like 9 million bands).

So shut up already and listen to some of the tunes. By the way, there's a funny copyright notice here:
All rights reversed; all wrongs reversed. Unauthorized duplication might actually do a lot of good -- go for it!
Some songs (but not all of the tunes):

"Can't You Do Anything Right?" - The Lazy Cowgirls - the band from the home state of punk (Indiana) that put together pure garage rock with influences ranging from (early) Beatles, Ramones and Black Flag. At the time, one of the biggest bands on Bomp! This comes from their Tapping The Source. I liked that record at the time but I just can't always get into this muffled, recording. Still, it's a pretty great cut to start out the weekend with. Bonus link: Required reading for Cowgirls fans from Cutting Edge mag. They call this track "high octane frenzy"...

"Speed Freak" - Stomachmouths. This band of degenerate Swedes were on the Voxx label and prove that that garage rock from Sweden didn't start and end with the Hives and International Noise Conspiracy (respectively). Hell, it didn't start with the Stomachmouths - they were out and out revivalists but weren't afraid to admit it. Too bad they aren't around today, though I doubt this ode to drugs would have been featured on any iTunes commercials. Fan tribute site.

"Mister Mist" - Holy Sisters of the Gaga Dada. Junkyard rock - found noises, silliness abound. A tripped out Siouxsie Banshee meets Spike Jones. No doubt Xiu Xiu copped some of their ideas from the Sisters. Anyone have a copy of their cover of "Pretty Woman"? Pass it to me, please, please, please?

'H-Bomb White Noise" - H-Bomb White Noise. Get rid of Mark Mothersbaugh (he's too smart) and cherry-pick a new Devo from a buncha German prog-goth rockers, stick 'em back in the garage and they probably would have invented something like this.

Awesome H-Bomb White Noise Fun Fact: The married founders and members of H-Bomb White Noise - Roderick and Randa Milliron - also own InterOrbital Systems, a rocket manufacturing and test site in the Mojave Desert. Their companies goal is to make interplanetary space travel affordable and reliable! The band practices in their hanger and they are currently selling the first orbital space tourism tickets for a private-sector rocket (set to launch in 2008; ticket price: $250,000 - rebated after two years). That's literally outta this world, maaan!

"Wolfpack" - N.Y. Wolfpack. Some Albany straight-edge that describes both the attraction of the "scene" to young men and its fascist no-fun undertones. Very Black Flag influenced and part of Greg Shaw's very small foray into hardcore and thrash so it's nihistorically interesting in that respect. A e-zine called How's Your Edge interviewed the, er, leader of the pack not too long ago and he basically recounts the history of his band as a series of fights.

"It Can Happen To You" - The Leopards - You gotta love the ironic sequencing here. About the wimpiest, hookiest, poppiest song comes right after the loudest most obnoxious song (a death-thrasher called "Killing Kranium"). Although the Kansas City-based Leopards were basically pigeon-holed as a bunch of Kinks lovers, this is more reminiscent of the most treacly moments of Paul McCartney. And I've made my peace with Paul so this is alright. Trouser Press entry for The Leopards.

"Voices of Several Tourists" "Tourists from Timenotyet" - Steppes. Astute listeners might suggest that The Steppes (or sometimes just Steppes) played some influence in some of the prog-psyche-garage bands as Flaming Lips, Breeders and Mercury Rev -- although I have little evidence they ever listened to 'em. This Irish band was supposedly very, very big in Europe but never gained much traction in the US. Some of the best stuff on the record and was enuf for me to order Harps and Hammers from Bomp!

"Burning of the Midnight Oil" World of Distortion - This Boston band has previously received the VM treatment but as this is about as close to the early hairy chest classic blues-rock sound (somewhat different from other stuff I've heard from the band) that this record has gotten, it's worth a note.

And even though it's out of sequence, there's nothing like some Dwarves to enjoy the grotesque absurdity of the current fucked up world: So I leave you with "Fuckhead"

Not to say the other cuts didn't have their moments. The Inn (jangly Electric Prunes) Laughing Soup Dish (damaged garage psyche), Last Drive (classic revivalist garage rock), Necropolis (thrashy death metal), The Raunchettes (funny bitch-punk rock) all deserve honorable mentions.

Great comp. Great record label. Amen - have a good weekend.


Links:
Go visit Bomp! Records. Most of the bands above have some vinyl or CD on their mailorder list (although this is long out of print). If you order, you'll get an email from Shaw's long-time partner Suzy Shaw. Plus they have a great new limited run purple vinyl Warlocks 7" that's one of those singles that sounds as good at 33 1/3 as it does at 45 RPM.

While you're there read Greg's 1994 history of Bomp! Records. Hell, print it out and read it to your kids as a bedtime story.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Various Artists: Footprints of God compilation


7" EP on Tulpa Records, 1988.

Joe Malinowski of Connecticut put out two of these 7" compilations in the late 80's. And evil Ronald Reagan on the cover and a funny Jimmy Swaggart drawing on the back.

These were all CT bands.

I'm laying down two of the cuts - both great for your Friday evening mix (assuming you are as twisted as me).

"Crystallize my Penis" - Masters of the Obvious (nee M.O.T.O.). Paul Caporino is a one man singer-songwriter-guitarist who has been sticking his long middle finger up the collective rectum of conventional rockstardom for about 18 years. This is one of his (perhaps the) first appearances on vinyl. Here he's vying to be the gross-out Kenne Highland. The highlight of the record. Paul Caporino has said he wrote it after he took care of a friend's cat who had to eat wet cat food or else the poor things penis would become crystallized. He also has admitted he wrote the song to get attention.

"Sandra's Getting Married" - Woodchipper. A skronky deconstruction of the John "Cougar" MellonCAMP / Springstine working class Tin Pan Alley so in vogue at the time... it's hinted in the liner notes that Damp fanzine editor Kevin Kraynick is on vocals. Their one and only recorded song and for that we can be thankful.

"Mother Goose and Mr. Hyde" - Eclectic Bitch. Before anyone had heard of post-partum depression, Dawn Cook was suffering and singing about it. Sounds very much like something Bongwater here. This band eventually became Bimbo Shrineheads (and then Shrinnirs and a few dozen other names) - anyway they recorded the sublime YLT-ish "I Will Die in Willimantic" (recommended) - the highlight of the second Footprints compilation - you can download that song and others here.

"Fuck you I'm God" - A Dying Gymnast. Scott Munroe's legacy to the lo-fi punk world. Thank you, Scott. Selfish Cunt ought to cover this if he hasn't stolen it already.

"Useless Things" - Isolation Farm. Sneering 4-track rock that namechecks all the stupid things about the '80's.

Links:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Honor Role: Craig Olive "EP"

"Twist" b/w "Lives of Saints No. 135 (Naked Wife)" (Homestead Records) --- I don't like the A-side so much - "Twist" - there's a problem with the compression in the recording, I dunno, it bothers me. Judging it outside the production problems, it's okay, I guess, sounds a little bit like a lot of the Homestead indie-pop-rocks (Big Dipper, Antietam, early YLT) only a bit more limp and, well, again with this, it's poorly mixed or recorded. I almost didn't bother digitizing it.

But side two, the ostensible flipside, is totally different and one of the best examples of the meshing of that Emocore "genre" with its opposite partner of the era, Pigfuck (for lack of a better term - that Wire/Big Black/Squirrel Bait /Rapeman/Didgits eggcetra eggcetra shit)... I got no idea who Craig Olive is or why the song is entitled "Lives of Saints No. 135 (Naked Wife)" but I'm sure someone thought it was a good idea at the time.

Whatever, this song don't let up and they have to fade it out (early in my opinion) to get the room desteamed.

"Lives of Saints No. 135 (Naked Wife)"

Links:

Buy this:
Every good rock collection deserves some HR.

And while Craig Olive (and Homestead) are long out of action but these songs and many other good ones from other albums (Rictus being their best) are still widely available on the retrospective Album (that's the name). Here's some froogle prices for ya.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

United Mutation: Rainbow Person

7" EP on DSI Records, 1982

Psychedelic hardcore wasn't that welcome when it first hit the scene at least as I remember it - partic. here in DC despite United Mutation's presence on the beloved Alive and Kicking compilation but it sound great now. It's also one of the few recordings of the era where the "Inner Ear 'sound'" (where the microphones are in the basement and band plays in the living room - just kidding, Don Z.) works.

UM's singer is often credited (or blamed) as one of the originators of the "cookie monster" singing style although I don't think that's true - there were plenty of bands around this time singing in that fashion. Just pick up an old Pushead comp or some Jap hardcore. At any rate, "Infinite Regression" has a sort of version of that singing style so judge it for yourself.

Punkvinyl.com is a big lover of UM and has several reviews. This one includes a band history from bassist Jay.

"Infinite Regression" - an experimentalish metallic-psyche piece and reverby "lost" guitar
"Zone" - more pysche-metal that that is sort of hardcore Hawkwind with a bluesy metal vocal

Trying to beat the blogger.com outage - so sorry if this is rushed...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Haywood: "Trash Park"

Hmmmm... it's always strange to pick up these 7"'ers and then go and google these bands and see what became of them (as you can tell I mostly ignored indie music in the '90s in favor of videos and DVD collecting).

Anyway, these guys (Haywood as in "Hey! Wood...") went on to semi-respectable heights before breaking up in 2000 or so.

I've listened to the songs they have up on Myspace.com and while I don't see my self downloading them for posterity, they're okay in a indie pop-rock sortsa way. AS they go in Hitchhiker's Guide, "mostly harmless..."

Surprisingly, they seem to have enough of a following to command healthy prices on their out of print CDs (and this 7") and they have laudatory Epitonic bio (although don't the record companies pay for that shit? I dunno).

"Trash Park", I'm amazed to say, is so much better though, than what I've sampled from their later stuff. Produced by one of the members of Eggs, it toys a bit with the Teen Beat low-fi sound and has a "K" girl-boy lyrical theme. But you can tell the band prefers a much, much bigger and fully meshed sound tho' with tons of inneresting guitar noise, swirling sections and use of dynamics way long before it became a staple in the current young degenerates who populate MTV's early morning video trials. Their Wiki entry compares them with Superchunk (and band I know little of, sorry) and Modest Mouse (hmmm, Haywood isn't as anti-social...).

"Trash Park" then - it's a nice guy indie love song rock about hanging out with your girlie near the garbage dump. Simple and too the point. He likes looking at trash and he likes holding Jenny's (or whomever's) hand.

Pop-wise, it's not entirely memorable but then I hate songs that play over and over in my head!!!! --- At least while its playin', I'm tapping my athritic foot and boppin' my fat head - in fact, it's pretty downright sweet (as in the rocker vernacular - "sweeeeeeeet") although, uh, predictable in that pop-rock sorta way - although it's unfair to say that, I guess, as it probably wasn't as predictable when it first came out.

The flip side "Nerf Dreams" continues to mix twee girlfriend-boyfriend lyrics with heavy loud pop rock. It's also quite good. You can download it from the Epitonic site and check it out yourself.

These songs were released on Model for a Monument but that's as out of print as is this 7" so good luck (see Gemm link above). They do have other CDs still in print (see their Myspace, um, space).

SONG:
"Trash Park" - Haywood

Tell me what you think? Super lame as in let's bury these guys or where's the Haywood reunion gig? As you can tell, I'm somewhat in the middle - if I find Model for a Monument in a used bin for a decent price, I might splurge but not so interested in their latter stuff.

A Sort of Opposing View Point: Mark from Music for Robots hearts Haywood including the latter stuff that I have so casually and ignorantly dismissed - he loves them so much he put them on his first compilation. Yay, Mark.

Super Cool Bonus Link: Two Haywood members (Rob Viola and Ted Pauley, I think) and their Brooklyn pals have their own MP3 blog - Two Pounds and a 1/2 Pounds of Bacon.

It's sort of like a Vinyl Mine for '90s music (except with the lower standards one one needs to enjoy most 90's music - remember during most Democratic administrations: music bad, movies good and during Republican administrations: music good, movies bad). I'm just hurt they haven't blogrolled me - bastids. It only took me 14 years to review this promo, ha ha ha.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Has Anyone Seen Sam Lowry???


I'm a sucker for all the versions of the song "Brazil" - ANALOG arts ensemble blog has Carmen Miranda's version that I hadn't heard before. She's great for dreaming in technicolor of that "amber moon"...

And that escapist trait of the song was probably why it's such a great centerpiece of Terry Gilliam's great movie Brazil (there's certainly no other reference to Brazil in the movie!).

Here's Geoff Muldaur's version from the Brazil movie soundtrack:

"Brazil"

-- There's a bit of a cheesy Spike Jonze feel to this version but at the same time it's laidback - it could be just that with this melody and the latin percussion you can't help but lean back. The trumpets slur and at the end there's a big farting sound from a tuba(?). It's light and fun but played like maybe a bad drunken samba band might play it. I can see why Muldaur doesn't exactly reference it on his site. The soundtrack also has a dream version of the song by Kate Bush AND a full-up samba version of the song ...

As for Muldaur's Latin-swing version, I can do that Latin dance with the wrists going up and down and my feet shuffling (but only in my bedroom, alone - and no, I don't have a web-cam).

If you have another version of "Brazil" (and there are plenty - just peruse iTunes for one point of reference) - please post it or write about it and let me know where and I'll link to it.

Image found at JamesWagner.com's great art image blog

King Kong: "Movie Star" (1st recording)

7" EP (1989). The first King Kong EP came with absolutely no information about who was behind it - sort of a hipster in-joke I guess known to a chosen few - at least until some of the fanzines in on it left some hints that it was yet another Louisville spin-off of Squirrel Bait. This record is all (Tweez line-up) Slint and I suppose a bit of a collector's item - Slint disappears in the later records and it's mostly (Tweez) bassist Ethan Buckler and guests.

The first side has two songs -- "Movie Star," the opener is the centerpiece and the more ha-ha pedestrian (get it?) "Camel's Walk Song." Side two has an extended song called "Chicken Shit." What unifies these songs are a sort of hipster detachment (some have compared it to B-52s and I suppose it was in that respect) and a new wave funk-rock styel. In later recordings, Kong morphed away from this - and while I would classify this recording as "post-hardcore" - it seems the later stuff was more firmly entrenched in a pre-hardcore attitude (blues, soul, conceptual, albums, etc.).

For my money, "Movie Star" is the best throw-down of the bunch. OK, so forget the trite lyrics (movie stars are clueless, shallow morons, we know this), and isntead groove on surprising classic blues-funk boogie-woogie new wave dance thang that kicks [substitute your favorite thing to kick].

It's for cool puppet robots, I guess (ooh, I have received the hidden message - movie stars are cool puppet robots! Wowie-zowie). For reasons unclear and most unfortunately, "Movie Star" ends abruptly - I would have extended it a bit more and maybe trashed "Camel's Walk" (a lesser piece in several ways).

Side two's "Chicken Shit" also has a funky groove and some awesomely recorded drums for the period / venue - was Albini behind this?... but in contrast to "Movie Star" - it overstays its welcome with a repetitive two-minute coda in which Buckler monotonically intones "anything but that" while someone squawks like a chicken - ha ha. Anything but that indeed.

Even if you don't like what Slint became (I don't, in case you care), you have to admit that the Bucker-Pajo/McMahan-Walford bass-guitar-drum combo was very, very, very boss (not to denigrate Brashear, he's a groovy cat too) and with them playin' this here white boy funk, that's enough of a reason to get this record. It was reissued as a CD single last year so what're waiting for?

This has one of my all-time favorite 7" covers - the giant ape angrily ascending over the water and threatening to overpower the sun makes the bright colors, um, ironic. But those big ape ears make it kinda funny at the same time. Note the scotch tape at the bottom - that's the way it came. I love seeing the evidence of hand-assembled records...

Song:
"Movie Star" - King Kong

Links:
- A 1995ish interview with Ethan Buckler via Thrust Electronic Webzine
- King Kong's discography, Drag City home page
- King Kong Website is hopelessly out of date but this FAQ is written by Buckler

I'll be doing 7"'ers all week.