Friday, October 27, 2006

Coffee and Cigarettes MP3 Mix - Tiny Insomniac Surreal Edition

A little insomnia tonight took me to the net hustings, mostly looking up bands that were appearing in the local area in the next few days... and then I went outside searching for a cup of coffee. DC may be all that but try to find a cup of joe at 4AM. The little ambient drone at the end of the mix came up on random play during my wanderings... peace/love

"Carve It Out" - Matt Bauer
"Back In The Hotel" - Dame Satan
"Walking Away" - Sean McArdle"
"2i.Gst" - If Thousands (from Drones, Loves, Honesties, Sounds)

Lou and David together

So I'm reading about the Jordan Catelano - Frodo "fight" and I'm somehow reminded of the 70's bitch-slapfest reported in Rolling Stone between David Bowie and Lou Reed. I remember reading that there was lots of girlish slapping and screaming and so on.

So.... this led to some random googling where I came across this Youtube video of Reed playing at Bowie's 50th birthday bash singing "Queen Bitch" - the song Bowie wrote for Reed before they went on the outs . Nice to see they made up (although Lou Reed looks a bit wary of David in the clip). I had forgotten what great song this was (warning to your significant others: playing this loud may cause bouts of bedroom air guitar).

I try to keep the You-Rube action to a bare minimum here but I couldn't help sharing.

Hey, Generation Y, "our" girly-man bitch/slap fests are sooooooooo much more epic than yours.

Speaking of Lou Reed and tranvestite singer duets Fabulist has a track of Mr. Reed playing his organ with Antony. (Fabulist is an under-rated blog I've grown to enjoy over the past few weeks and been meaning to throw into the blogroll -- great to look at (the blog) and always something interesting to listen to or look at.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hell House Mp3 Mix

This is sort of a "clip show" posting and some various soundtrack gems to set the mood... I hope you all rot your teeth out on Halloween candy.

picture by me

Monday, October 23, 2006

Scratch Acid: Berserker EP (1987)

I think at this point I don't have to go into the background of Austin's Scratch Acid -- from the reception they received at their recent reunion 3-city tour - kicked off at the Touch and Go festival, it seems like they are more popular today than they were way back when.

I do remember being one of the few people to "get" (both physically and mentally) their first gutpunching album (well, 12")- the black with a tiny portrait self-titled one on Rapid Cat Records that immediately placed them in my personal pantheon. We'll get to that one some day, I hope. At any rate, I date myself by seeing them more as a Rapid Cat band than a T&G band.

I saw them play once at dc space and remember encountering them walking through that tiny hallway between the bar and the venue. Yow was like, "hey dude", shirtless, loopy smile, stagger/swaggering and the rest were either pretty high or just very happy. They actually seemed to enjoy each other's company, no mean feat when you had to drive around in a van for many days and weeks.

I said hi or something and there's no real story here but I always smile when I think about it. They were one of the few bands of that time that embraced the old living on the edge fuck-it vibe of Iggy, VU, Rolling Stones, etc. Most of the other bands worth anything at the time were either nerds (albini), politicos (boon) or art fags (thurston) so it was kinda refreshing to encounter the reborn rock god archetype in Mr. Yow, even if that's not what was intended.

That first record blew me away as much as anything that was coming out at the time. The follow-up ok - kinda the crest of the nadir - and Berserker was the final retch. Carducci calls them one of the best High Grotesque bands, a term he made up to describe an approach he generally disdained as faked eccentricity - still he had to admit that Scratch Acid "put together an expressionist sound straining towards free but anchored mercilessly by the drummer." I can't have put it any better. I remember a rumor at the time that they were also merciless practicers and spent many hours honing their songs in some Austin group house, perhaps that's how they came out seeming so spontaneous both on record and live. Don't know if that part's true but I kinda was impressed when I heard that since your first insttinct is to think they were just a bunch of degenerates. I guess their later bands (Jesus Lizard, Rapeman, etc.) suggested they weren't just flukes - partic Washam and bassist Sims. Well, Yow gets his own special category as one of a kind.

Most people look down on Berserker but I think it contains at least three of their greatest songs: the mad-demented "Mary Had a Little Drug Problem" and the oink-slobbering blues of "Moron's Moron." Some of their best ensemble playing here of the time here. The drumming is merciless indeed but the guitar playing, bass and Yow's singing all combine to make something pretty infuckingcredible. Few music this hard and unrelenting makes me smile. This does. Preferably played REAL LOUD. Finally of my top three here, "Skin Drips" would fit on anyone's cool Halloween mix, though, so it's my pick for ya, tonight in case you are putting together something for the kids.

And you can go out looking for candy dressed like this guy (photo from the back cover by Shannon Smith):

"Skin Drips" - by Scratch Acid

  • Brett Bradford - Guitar
  • David Wm. Sims - Bass
  • Rey Washam - Drums
  • David Yow - Vocals


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Vinyl Rips: Shoreline, Ariel Pink and OCS

Here's some notable cuts from some recently released vinyl rips...

"Kings" - Shoreline from From Eden, Home and In-Between 10" EP... Shoreline kinda came late to the neo-hippy folk party but they're welcome anyways. The band consists of a Brit and an I-Tye -- he plays pretty acoustic guitar, she sings pretty over that and then they invite some of their friends who bring in vocal harmonies, bozoukas, xylophones, piano and double bass. Iron & Wine, Crosby & Nash and a little The Magic Numbers come to mind as "Kings" attests. The songs were multi-tracked (that is recorded one track at a time) but the result sounds cohesive nonetheless. These songs come off a 5-song 10" from Yesternow Recordings. The record includes few liner notes so you have to find the band's website to get more info. Here's the page they put up for Kings and here's their myspace in case you want to stream it and some others. The band news promises to turn into a live outfit so I suspect this isn't the last we have heard of them.

"Hey Kid" from OCS 3 LP - Call it the reverse Neil Young syndrome. Hot underground heavy metal / hardcore / punk guitarist does a more mellow side-project. Emil Amos (Grails -> Holy Sons) and Ben Chasny (Comets on Fire -> Six Organs of Admittance) are some famous and successful examples. John Dwyer of the Coach Whips also has a side-project called either OCS or Ohsees (standing for Orange County Sound) that slows things down and toys out the guitar. This was previously released as a part of a two-CD package called OCS3 and OCS4 but Yik-Yak Records have re-released just the OCS3 as vinyl. I hadn't heard the CD pack but I imagine that two CDs of this might have been too much. If you have the Jana Hunter CD and the two most recent M. Ward CDs you'll probably kinda dig this although as a whole it didn't capture my attention for the entire record. Select cuts, though, make the grade. "Hey Kid" brings back the evil Manson side of hippy folk now while Devendra has gotten all gooey and good. Love that line "I will destroy you, even though your parents begged me not to." You can also download "Second Date" from Narnack records. The vinyl (via Yik-Yak) is not 180 gram but it comes in a cool shopping bag colored package with what appears to be a silkscreened vampire ape image. The insert is super large and includes all the lyrics and other fun stuff about the reccid. And you can buy this LP here ...

"The Bottom" from Ariel Pink's My Molly EP. Ariel let a small-ish new vinyl company put out this EP of some of his early 4-track work (I'm thinking 97-98 vintage). This includes a cover of a rare Smiths track ("The Night Has Opened My Eyes") that reminded how I used to like the Smiths and still hate Moz. "The Bottom" revives The Romantics red leather corpse and puts it through Pink's lo-fi bedroom shredding machine. The rest of the EP is all worthy of praise, too. Limited edition - buy it here. Pink's myspace lists all his influences from The Germs to Linda Rondstadt. Ariel is now recording under the name Ariel Rosenberg for HumanEarMusic.

John Dwyer photo by Pnl. Other photos promotional images.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Seal of Approval

My Marshall micro-amp arrived today. Great sound, perfect for an apartment dweller and even has a little belt clip so you can go play it out in the street. You can even make some nice squalling feedback with it and turn the fuzz on. Now if only it would make me play better (I'm a drummer - my hands are like ham hocks).
Onelouder's Jason writes about what's wrong in music blogs these days:

But first I would like to address a couple gripes that are germane to this post. I've seen these grievances pop up in posts and comment boards across the sphere, so I believe it's one worth discussing. While I concur with the sentiment of these generalities to a degree, I have more questions and doubts than certainties and answers. Here are the complaints:

1. Blogs talk about the same small set of bands.

And the corollary:

2. These bands aren't worth the hype.

Yes, it seems true on the surface. A number of blogs that show up in most blog rolls do appear to mention the same bands, over and over. The ad nauseam coverage raises the question of sincerity. What are the motives of these blogs? Do they really like these bands? The content is posited as personal passion (and most likely is) but in the conflagration of buzz, it can appear as no more than shilling for ad revenue, traffic numbers or ego. read the rest
To test the hypothesis that "too many blogs write about the same bands and that those bands don't deserve the hype", I did a little look through Hype Machine's 50 most popular blogs listing. Lots of Ben Kweller and Hold Steady repeated throughout, two acts that I don't know deserve the hype they are getting but otherwise a pretty diverse set of artists. But I do sometimes feel there's alot of bandwagoneering in the blogs at times. And there are a few artists who deserve the "hype" although it can get repetitive (how many blogs reposted the Sufjan Stevens live boot recently?). Should blogs (ahem) go silent when there's nothing new to write about? Jason suggests the answer is to look beyond the dozen or so blogs that everyone reads.
More blog-on-blog action - Nick Sylvester spanks Gorilla Vs. Bear:
...scroll down to the part about how people are supposed to act at a fucking rock concert and you have to wonder what's worse, what the guy's complaining about or the guy himself. I mean come the fuck on, you're still complaining about the guy who yells "Freebird"? Are you serious? That guy can't even buy a fucking ticket anymore to his favorite band Tapes N Tapes because of assholes like you. If he wants to get sloppy drunk at the Tapes N Tapes show, make out with five girls, talk during the opener, take off his clothes and yell "Freebird" seven times in a row, call up his bros about the uptight douchebag in front of him scribbling notes for his fucking concert etiquette post, then throw you at the band (this would be heckle), I'm all for it.

So like 30 minutes ago, I never heard of The Meltdowns but then Warren Ellis recommended them and I'm listening to their free 3-song "Fang" single over and over again, in particular "J'Appelle Sexx" - a stomach-punch of a song --- but what I'm confused about is if they lost their female singer, what do they sound like now, since she seems so integral to the band's sound. Download the whole single here.

The following posts receive the Vinyl Mine Seal of Approval. See?

* How to Create Your Own Seal of Approval

Update: the true(?) story of the 'stoned' Professor

Sunday, October 01, 2006

To Live and Shave with Tom Smith

Thinking about Dan Joseph this weekend got me also thinking about Tom Smith, who was in another DC art-punk band, Peach of Immortality and is now in To Live and Shave in LA. I wrote about Tom somewhere in the distant past but thought I'd go check out his blog. Peach was a band whose advertisements, band fliers and Tom's writings (in Forced Exposure among others) were better than the band.

Lots of news there - his band To Live and Shave in L.A. got a recent recording assist from Thurston Moore and Andrew W.K. and were featured in's 29 Feb article. His most recent post has a link to the track included with the Spin article which he says was mis-named by Spin. Industrial improv that crawls all over your ears and leave all sorts of slimey verbs and bodily fluids in its wake. Anyway.

He also says he's doing a remix for Xiu Xiu and that his son, Evan, is a soldier presumably heading to Iraq. As Tom says,

"Reckon he's either in Kuwait or on the Iraq/Syrian border. Such an incalculable bummer... Cruel ironies are stacked to the ceiling."
I didn't know Tom that well, I could pick him out in a room (usually seen at the old 930 club) but all my best to him. I've put his blog in my Google Reader to keep up with any future news.

(photo via Tom's blogger home page)

Feed Me Feed You

I just read some nice words about my weblog (thanks) but the crux of the post was that I don't have an RSS feed as this person preferred to read through the feed. I do have an RSS (well, atom) feed and I also publish the entire post rather than just an excerpt. Here's my atom feed which most readers can handle (I realize there's some geekery about the differences between RSS and atom and RSS 2.0 blahblahblah). You can also just subscribe to my MP3s via Hype Machine or at least the MP3s that Hype Machine decides are worthy.

Hype Machine is how I get feeds from other blogs who don't publish an RSS feed such as Gorilla vs. Bear (apologies if this blog does publish one, I just haven't been able to find it).

One of the reasons I like Google Reader (and it's very nice recent update) is that it can usually find a feed for a site automatically.

The next time I republish my template, I'll be sure to put the atom feed up there so no one runs into this again.

UPDATE: I did an RSS feed managed through Feedburner:

As long as I'm here, some things to note. Spoilt Victorian Child is one of the music blogs that first welcomed me with a sidebar link. They recently ceased operations although Simon has a burgeoning online record label going. Another person who helped me out early with encouragement was Jason from Misery and Mystery. Or is it Mystery and Misery? Anyway, after a too long hiatus, Spaceman is back with a redesign that goes forward to the basics. I've noticed alot of new music blogs eschewing the sidebars and going for a blog that really emphasizes writing over the "bells and whistles".

I want this car even with the little whirley gig on top. I'll feel way cooler than Ed Begley in it, after all. It'll be like my answer to the biking to work crowd -- I do need a car at work since I often have to jump in it to go to meetings off site but the Bikers Uber Alles crowd can never seem to understand that (most of them being programmers or "kept" engineers who don't have to go out and make site visits)

Not much other linky-linky today although I'm digging this Google video someone put together with Little Brother's Atari 2600. Link via WFMU. You can download the song here. "Y'know what I'm sayin'? What about Pitfall?"

I admit that I watched the Veronica Mars Seasons 3 opener over at No spoilers here, sorry. But first I spent the afternoon installing Internet Explorer 7. And just in time. Firefox users beware.

Large-Hearted Boy linked to a new (free) online release from that Arthur Digby band. I dig "Lisa" (which David also linked to) which first appeared in a compilation about imaginary friends I blogged about way back.

With the Breeders Cup coming up in a few weeks, I watched the Arc d'Triomphe this morning on TV-G (the essential horse-racing channel) and found the odds on the Japanese horse (Deep Impact at 1-5) to be horrendously low. This guy did the right thing and bet to win on every other horse. And mid to longshot won nicely and the guy doubled his money at the expense of most of the Japanese betting public. Hey, it isn't often you get to make money on another country's pride (well, unless you're with Halliburton or CACI).

And I leave you with a rave review in the Washington Post for Neil Gaiman's new book of short stories. Narnia fans and Naria haters alike will be interested in reading this tale:
Ever felt a shot of sympathy for poor Susan, banished from heaven in the Narnia Chronicles for being "too fond of lipsticks and nylons and invitations to parties"? Here is an exploration of the elderly Susan's last moments, created out of dissatisfaction with Lewis's priggish treatment of his female characters.
Listen to Neil read the forward to Fragile Things here.

OOPS! UPDATE: Almost forgot to link to this - Sonic Youth scanned in the faux fanzine - lyric book for Rather Ripped (I think it only came in a limited version). via Arthur Magazine's blog.