Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Liner Notes...

If you read my Dischord.com site review post on Sunday, I said I had some problems with the store. Whatever the issue was, it's been fixed now. Just wanted you all to know in case I scared anyone off. Also, thanks to Alec (the site codeslinger) for contacting me.

I'm not a big blog for comments and that's cool but sometimes they come in many moons after a post. And it's really sweet when someone in one of the bands I wrote about leaves a message (even Pillsbury Hardcore). It appears Jeff Weigand from the Volcano Suns has left a comment on my blog posting on the All Night Lotus Party LP explaining what some of the songs were about:
hey...not a bad review of lotus party...tho' your readings of songs is abit off...ride the cog is about two things...I wrote it as a sorta anti minor threat manifesto about jon and me going on some pretty good drinking binges while we were digusted with the music scene and girls...and the infamous train ride up Mount Washington which tends to cut loose ever so often and kill its thrillseekers (sadly, due to modern innovations and safety inhibitions, this rarely hapens anymore)....four letters is about a fucked up relation pete had with a girlfriend...sounds like bucks is just about living in america and all of the money is you bullshit...crotch on fire is about beating off too much, again a sorta offshoot of the girl theme...and room with a view is about me being a young boy and watching the neighbor divorcee masturbate thru her window for many years jeff
As Kevin Costner said about Madonna, "neat," huh?

Speaking of Pillsbury Hardcore, the angry comments continue. here's the latest from Anonymous:
I'm sure you're befuddled by Crucial Youth and Stikky as well. After all, any band that used the Pillsbury doughboy as a logo must have wanted to be taken completely seriously.
I wasn't befuddled by Crucial Youth (they just kinda sucked, joke band or not, so I guess the comparison with PH is apt) and I never heard Stikky (isn't it something they give horses so they poop better?). And hey, I said some nice deserving stuff about Bob Durkee recently, so I can't be all that befuddled.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Dischord Records Website

Dischord Records discovered that the year 2001 was over and updated their website. I can't fault them for waiting so long - the label has always been a labor of love and who has time for computer shit when there's music to be made.


- downloads! A HUGE amount of downloads from the entire catalog (even the 25 year old stuff). There's also a promise to bring in videos and stuff from the archives. This is really the most exciting thing about the new site. They made it so you can't "hotlink" to an mp3 or download (you have to right click on the flash arrow thingie to download - something they don't tell you about unless you experiment).
- clean and simple design wins the day
- they've kept the band pages pretty much the way they were and as I had no complaint about it (except perhaps they should have links to MP3s), that's an upside

Downsides - as they say here, this is a work in progress so take this as constructive criticism

- the store which was hard to deal with before now seems totally inoperable. Stuff you select for your shopping cart doesn't get in there (I'm using Firefox so maybe this works with other browsers). CORRECTION: Whatever the problem was - whether it was on my end or theirs, it's fixed now and I justed busted my budget on some Evens CDs... kidding, $10 each and free shipping - sweet.

There's no email links on the store page to make a manual order (there is a street address and phone number though). There is an email address for them but it's kinda hidden. Really, I know you guys see commerce as being icky but we want to buy your records at your great prices - make it easier for us.
- I hope they are planning to sell DRM-free digital (loss less or high bit rate Mp3s, please)
- no RSS feed for the news page - boo. Really, this is 2007. I want new announcements to come to me not have me have to go to their page. That can't be too hard to fix.
- the tour page is great and it does offer a way to subscribe but it's with icalendar?! Not a bad idea for the band manager and real fanatic fans but most people don't need to know when The Evens are going to be in Pittsburgh (unless you're in Pittsburgh). Wouldn't it be cooler if new tour announcements was also delivered to an RSS reader? Bloggers who love you guys would get the word out. And yeah, I know publicity and advertising is icky, too.

Well, this wouldn't be an MP3 blog with something I plucked from their download page. Embrace was a band I wished had stayed together longer but it was not to be. Viva la Revolucion Summer. I got to see them live at least and somewhere I have a soundboard tape.

"Dance of Days" - Embrace (see here also)

Coffee and Cigarettes MP3 Mix for January 2007

photo by me

It's been awhile... here's some cool tunes I've come across in recent days... all the songs here are also available at artist websites (except for the first one which points to the blog I got it from) - I've just rehosted them temporarily to help out the artist's bandwidth:

"Besame Mucho" - The Fairfax High School Marimba Band
"Hit My Country (edit)" - aMute (via The Wire's Tapper 16) (also available here)
"The Orchids" - Califone (via Tapper 16 as well) (also available here)
"Different Daylight" - MAHER SHALAH HASH BAZ (via k records here)
"Bar Ice" - Silkworm (also here)
"Ain't It Strange" - Dr. Dog (more tunes over here)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sufjan Stevens at the Kennedy Center

photo by carol pratt

Livejournal bloggers unite! You have nothing to lose but your freezing asses.

I live within spitting distance of the Kennedy Center so for my morning walk, I went down around 9AM to see if Sufjan fanatics had really camped out all night in freezing temperatures for a free ticket to hear Sufjan play here (with an orchestra) on February 5th. I point out that normally his tickets are about $15.00 or so and can be bought off the Internet. And even though he's to be accompanied by an orchestra, he's only playing for an hour (and it will be broadcast live in pretty decent sound quality). Just sayin'...

I don't have pictures (damn me) but the entire left side of the Kennedy Center was full of people - I'd say thousands, hoping to get their tix. Several tents were being taken down as I walked by. By the time I arrived, of course, getting a ticket to a 2400 hundred seat theater when there were thousands in front was out of the question - but I decided to get into the action and stood/sat for an hour in line for free tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra (normally $40-70) - they'll be playing Pictures at An Exhibition the same day that St. Sufjan arrives to spread his bliss upon the Potomac.

Check out both the triumphant and the whining bloggers:

"Fuck you, Kennedy Center! I spent three hours (6:30 - 9:30) waiting in the freezing cold for tickets to the Sufjan Stevens concert in February.

They ran out of tickets about 150 people in front of me. I was sad." - daily scribblings

"but for real, it was awesome. we met a lot of people, like our neighbors, these kids from jmu we dubbed "the scrabble tent" because they brought scrabble with them. some of the jammin' java folks were there too, aka "acapulco blanket" since that's all alfonso brought with him. i was representing "babar tent," named so because of the babar blanket that laid on top of our makeshift abode.

it was freezing for the majority of the night, but spooning for warmth kind of helps, plus i brought s'mores supplies and a chafing dish with which to roast the marshmallows. all in all, it was pretty fun, and definitely worth it." - ian with a j

"As we turned the corner I could only laugh...probably 1500 people in line and if you do the math (2 tickets each) we were shit out of luck. Oh well, I guess the memories of his last two shows will have to suffice for now. Hopefully we will see him again at 930 in the near future.

Now I give the over under on the tickets being sold on craigslist for somewhere around $100 per ticket...any wagers?" - off 7th, chronicles of shaw

"Apparently, you had to camp out from Friday to have a chance at getting a ticket to see Sufjan Stevens next week for free at the Kennedy Center. Waiting in the cold for two hours on a Saturday morning was not hardcore enough. Oh well. At least we got killer brunch at Open City.

Oh and never get involved in a land war in Asia. It's one of the classic blunders. " - edinuk

I am frozen, and exhausted, but I hold in my hand two tickets to Sufjan Stevens at the Kennedy Center, February 5. It was a long, long journey.

Then, a random and spontaneous IM from a SuperFriend, and after explaining the situation to him, we were off to D.C. in a flash! We got there at 5 AM, and were still around about 450-500 deep in line. And it was cold. It was freezing. My feet became numb countless numbers of times, and my legs are STILL blue. I had a blanket, though, so we huddled and we waited and we waited and we huddled.

In one of the most surprising acts of charity that's ever happened to me, just at dawn, a stranger came up to me, said I looked cold, and gave me a cup of coffee.

Sunlight made the air a little warmer, and all in all, we survived waiting in line as more and more people flocked in, and we made it inside, and we GOT OUR TICKETS.

I cannot wait for November 5." (uh, it's Febuary 5th, dood) - nouex

Taylor Kate has pictures of the mobscene... alas, she didn't get tickets.

More pictures at Kings of the Road

Lovely Miss Jess summarizes the scene in one sentence and passes on the big news for those that didn't camp out yet still want to commune with others near His Sufjanness:

Hipsters win. I lose.

My only consolation came in the form of a little blue slip. The KC staff passed them out to us poor bastards in the late half of the line. It said that they'll do a live broadcast in the Grand Foyer, and if you bring a chair, you can still catch the show.

Although on second thought, Sufjan fans really aren't hipsters anymore, are they?

And since everybody played nice, here's a Sufjan piece from the Indie Baby compilation, See You On The Moon (fri) and also appeared in Volume 3 of his Christmas box set.

"The Friendly Beasts"

Hey guys, welcome to my neighborhood. I would have offered you my bathroom for a shower and respite but I was, like, sleeping in warmth.

UPDATE: What does it cost to camp out in the cold over night with a buddy? $600 for four tickets.

UPDATE to the UPDATE: More fanaticism and pictures in Can This Pilgrim Make Progress?:

People around us who had made the sacrifice to come out here in the frigid cold starting to realize that the sacrifice was about to bear some amazing fruit, like some very amazing tickets... In fact, this guy who finally received his tickets, was jumping up and down and screaming, "This is so worth it - Sufjan you are so worth it!!!"

And at The Luck of 13th Street, Kennedy Center personnel confirm that Sufjan is perhaps bigger than The Messiah:

Three hours later, unlucky and unthinking people are still lining up, looking either incredibly awed or incredibly depressed at the sheer number of other people ahead of them. Over a thousand, we guess. The security guards say this kind of turnout only happens two or three times a year, and the only time it was even close to this amount of people was for the Messiah Sing-a-long.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Emergency: All Ages Shows in Jeopardy in DC

Received this last night - please write to my Council member Jim Graham (jim@grahamwone. com) and Mayor Fenty (fill in email form here) even if you don't live in DC or the surrounding areas - this affects more than DC as it may lead to having to close several clubs so visiting bands will have less venues to play here. Thanks to Pete Duvall for the wake-up call...

To: dc-baltimore-shows@yahoogroups.com
From: "Pete Duvall"
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 14:43:16 -0800 (PST)
Subject: DC/Baltimore Punk Shows and Events: URGENT MESSAGE - this will affect all ages shows in a BIG way

Hey all-

Emergency email this week. Due to the death of a 17 year old this past weekend in a club in DC, Rep. Jim Graham is proposing emergency legislation to ban minors from clubs that serve

there will be a hearing about the proposed law THIS THURSDAY at 2:00 p.m.

This could affect many readers of this list. Nobody under the age of 21 could go to most of the shows listed. Think no black cat, 9:30 club, Rock & Roll Hotel, Warehouse Nextdoor, etc.

People should contact Jim Graham (jim@grahamwone. com) and Adrian Fenty (you have to use e-mail form at dc.gov) and if it all possible attend the hearing on Thursday.

This would have a terrible impact on our music scene. PLEASE write Jim Graham, and Adrian Fenty. Make it known that while you sympathize with the victim and her family, that banning minors is not the answer. Tell them how important it is for you and your friends to be able to see some of your favorite bands, and how this legislation would have a terrible affect on the local music scene. This could have a real negative impact on the club owners as well, taking away scores of paying attendees, just because they are not 21.

Thanks for listening, and thanks to Katie at Dischord for bringing this to my attention.

write now. write often. don't let this happen to your music scene.


"Young Folks" - Peter Bjorn and John (video) (downloaded from like everybody)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

From the Vinyl Mine: Brave New World

Initiation (Homemade Record, BN-84, Distributed by Fartblossom Enterprizes, 1985)

There's no references to this band at all on the 'net but I do know they came to do a distribution deal with Bob Durkee's Fartblossom Enterprizes label in the mid-80s and despite his stint with Pillsbury Hardcore, Durkee had one of the good ears for bands in Southern California at the time - his own label having released Subculture, Ugly Americans and Dain Bramage. So maybe if Durkee isn't too pissed off still about my treatment of his Pillsbury Hardcore 7", he might pipe in and tell us some more about the band.

Far as I know, this mini-LP is all the band came out with - it's hard to search for anything with the words "Brave New World" and not run into millions of sites discussing the Huxley novel. Like Huxley's novel there's a strain of social criticism running throughout the record. The music is a hybrid garage punk-psyche (keyboards) and with occasional moshing hardcore guitars/drumming constructs. The song topics veer more towards hardcore and post-hardcore topics - anti-society ("Sitcom"), pro-self improvement ("Initiation") and probably other things I'm not getting because there's no lyric sheet and vocals are often indistinguishable from the din and racket of the effects pedals and guitar buzz. There some similarities here to Rites of Spring's LP that was released in the same time period - in songs like "I Care!" and especially "3 Days After Liberation" you can almost hear singer James Roebuck pulling his hair out and rending his shirt to shreds. One of the more obvious comparisons -- thanks to Roebuck's voice mostly - is to Public Image, Ltd - the album opener almost sounds like Lydon doing guest vocals. Elsewhere such as in "The Worker", Roebuck sounds more like Jello Biafra so maybe he's choosing vocal styles to fit the song - the worker being about his most political song here. I'm also reminded of Reptile House - listen to "Like Van Gogh" and I can't help but be reminded of weird viciousness "Keel-haul Love"...

Best tracks here are the title track and "3 Days After Liberation" but I'll put up all the tracks

My complaints about this aren't that many - it's a shame this band didn't get more attention or get a chance to "spread their wings" beyond this record. Mainly I will make the typical complaint of music from this period/genre - it could use better recording/engineering. Also, keyboards are sometimes ladled on a bit too thick such as in "Sitcom" where the organ dominates a song (is it just me or are these chords the same ones Dylan used in "One More Cup of Coffee"?).

Anyone know more about this band? What happened to them - was there more music recorded?

Liner notes:
Produced by Brave New World
Lyrics - James Roebuck
(p) and (c) 1985 Brave New Music
All Rights Reserved
Recorded & Mixed at Joint Session May 1985
Eng. by Max
with help from

Band Lineup:
  • Vocals - Guitar - Ratiug(?) -- James Roebuck
  • Guitar - Bass - Kirk Burnett
  • Bass - keyboard - Tom Howard
  • Drums - Wayne Brown

Side 1:
Side 2:
All music recorded directly from vinyl with pops and clicks mostly intact (I do a little editing and cleaning up). You may need to adjust sound levels up on these tracks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New Site Feature and a Get Well Wish

Hey all - just a note before I pop out for the rest of the week - hope you like the new feature at the top of the 1st column, um, over there (points to the left). It's a cool and quick way to share any fantastic blog-gunk I come across without having to do a whole big blogger post and distract you from the otherwise goodness or badness... I should be back on Saturday or Sunday or maybe even Friday if I'm not too jetlagged - with yet another obscurity from the '80s and mebbe if I see or hear anything worthwhile out on the West Coast this week, I'll make a nod yer way.

Meanwhile, send out some good vibes/prayers/drugs to Jane Hamsher, longtime reader and Vampire Slayer who's dealing with the Big C this week. Here's a link to her site but it's totally overwhelmed by people trying to say hi and wish her the best.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

From The Vinyl Mine: The Meatmen

Rock 'n' Roll Juggernaut (Caroline, 1986)

This 'ere LP was the fourth second of the Meatster's post-We're The Meatmen and You Suck albums continuing the theme of metal parody begun with War of the Superbikes. Musically mostly spoofing 80's hair bands and also delving insulting and mostly unfunny comedy bits is pretty much the meta on this meat -- the general result is the musical equivalent of Tesco Vee underwear skids. Sorry.

Easy targets are lined up - decadent rock and roller's (title track), homophobic rednecks ("True Grit"), stereotypical gay men ("Dichstrudel") and neo-hippy punks ("Nature Boy") -- and said targets are mowed down without remorse. The playing is thin and uninspired for the most part - the recording kinda flat.

A few songs aspire to transcend the bad-natured mocking to participate in the High Mass that is Classic Rock and Roll - some reach a bit too high ("The Sweetest Kittens" is the sweetest failure here) and others, despite having a helluva hook just don't make much sense ("Centurions of Rome").

One song here, though -- "Turbo Rock" is worth preserving and laminating in your bodily fluids of choice... don't know why it exactly works - maybe it's the fact that Tesco Vee is actually writing from some sort of real or imagined personal experience or maybe his Motor City roots genetically made him unable to fuck this one up since its about cars and racing and drugs and delinquentism. Except for "French People Suck" which is a lookback to their greatest album (We're The Meatmen and You Suck), the song sports the best use of Tesco's Satanic croak and it's one of the few tracks that isnt' full of embarrassingly suck-ass lyrics. This of all the songs are more worthy of the guy who co-founded Touch and Go Records, invented sippy cups (per his myspace) published Touch and Go fanzine and pretty much spread the word on some of the early hardcore punk godhead bands - Necros, Minor Threat - before most of the rest of us shitheads caught on. Some of the lyrics here are tongue in bile and more than a little cliche ("This is the 80's / high time for turbo rock") but this song ranks up there with the best of Thin Lizzy / Motorhead / Nugent racing rawk n' drugs and gurls thing. It would fit like a tight leather racing glove on Alice Coopers gnarled decrepit hand.

Sample lyrics grab:
Hung with the jacked-up gang
Novas and Shelby 'stangs
And rockin' 442
Yeah with her flames o' blue
We're talkin' monster time
For macho auto-crime
Download-listen-discuss: "Turbo Rock"

Any good Tesco stories to share? Great live shows but pretty retiring off-stage from what I saw.

  • James Cooper - Leading Guitar
  • Tesco Vee - Voices
  • Graham McCulloch - Basso Profundo
  • Lyle Preslar - Main Guitar
  • Eric Zelsdorft - Battery


Album out of print - and it's surprisingly selling for some large bucks

The Official Tesco Vee myspace page (run by his son) is one of the best tribute pages - includes some incredible live youtubage of Tesco and his huge stage dildo - they really were more of a live act in the mid-80's - something to be seen over hearing on a record. Apparently Tesco's son agrees with my assessment as he's chosen "Turbo Rock" as one of the four streaming songs.

The Meatmen Wiki page

Southern Rock's meatpage has a discography - I forgot Tesco also came up with phrase "God's Bullies"

Monday, January 15, 2007

From The Vinyl Mine: The Ordinaires

Self-titled (Dossier Records, 1985)

The Ordinaires were a 9-piece chamber rock-jazz (world-funk-punk-prog,etc) unit (reeds, strings, guitars, drums) that emerged from the No Wave scene in the mid-80's. Their bio says "the band was both an outgrowth of and a reaction against the shapeless dissonance of their peers." Peers being Mofungo, The Scene is Now and so on.

There's alot of love and sweat put into this album - this isn't some one-off improv or 3-chord punk thing - although most of the pieces were written or co-written by saxophonist/accordianist Kurt Hoffman, no single band voice really dominates. Most of the pieces eschew melody in favor of point and counter-point in ways similar to classical music with some improv soloing. Unfortunately, some of the pieces sound a bit stiff - as if over-rehearsed and no one really is loosening up. One exception is "Nature" - a sort of highlands jig in which the strings provide the main theme and the saxes duke it out for supremacy while the drum plays a odd-metered cadence. It's one of the few songs where the band gets into a complete groove and relaxes.

I also like the rework of an Asian folk song "Ramayana." Drummer Jim Thomas's arrangement sets a misty and dreamy mood and a recognizable melody emerges. The guitar soloes are a little bit flat, maybe overcooked - sort of like when classical guys try to do rock phrasing and aren't really feeling it.

An interesting group that had a sound unlike any other, - it's unclear where they were going to go with it and I'm guessing that live gigs were probably hard to arrange. At any rate, they called it quits in 1991 after releasing a second album. Their second (One - describing perhaps their ability to play well together) came out in the late 80's and included a cover of Led Zep's "Kashmir" -- it's probably what they're best known for. Members of the band played on a cut from They Might Be Giants Lincoln LP ("Kiss Me, Son of God"). And saxophonist Hoffman joined TMBG for awhile and went on to play with Jon Spencer and Frank Black.


Band Line-up:


Get Behind Me, Lindsay or Garry, WTF?

I'm no gossip blogger but this photo is fascinating nonetheless... AV Onion (from whom I swiped it) decon it. The readers comments may even be funnier.

And in other compiled linkage...

I really like what I have heard so far from the Sic Alps CD I have on order - here's the video for Semi-Streets. Between these guys, New Times Viking and Love of Diagrams, 2007 is looking up for THE ROCK.

Bedroom guitar strummers will find this site indispensible...or should I say indie-spensible... ha ha. Ehhhh... I hate myself.

Another example of how an MP3 blog led me to buy a CD based only on their recommendation and the MP3 track. Also, see Blue Bus's post on the many variations of the Stagger Lee folk song.

I am now in the process of reconsidering late-90's Fall... here's evidence supporting an upgrade...

Big Rock Candy Mountain is trying to compile the 100 Best Drinking Songs.

and last but not least...

Best Mash-ups of 2006

Ivor Hanson - drummer for Faith, SOA and Embrace has a book out and will be in DC on Thursday. Life on the Ledge: Reflections of a New York City Window Cleaner.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Special Vinyl Mine Welcome Home Jack Bauer MP3 Mix

image and inspiration swiped from The Daily Gut

"One For The People" - Killdozer
"The Spy" - Gray Matter
"Experience The Pain" - Rifle Sport
"Pain Is Easy" - The Honeymoon Killers
"I'm Gonna Kill You" - The Mysterious Matt Miller

A special live blog second hour update:
"Jack Bauer kills using his mouth (4 points)"
"Fish Still Bite" - Smersh

Inspiration also via Blogs for Bauer Home of the Bauer Kill Counter

The following event happened between 6:00AM and 7:00AM Special Update:

Alas, the Ricky Gervais cameo didn't make it into the final cut:

In the scene, a group of White House brass meet to discuss an impending terrorist threat. Gervais, dressed like a presidential advisor, keeps whispering under his breath to give the mission to Jack Bauer - and then acts incredulous when someone else says it aloud and takes credit for the idea.

h.t. a soundtrack for everyone

From the Vinyl Mine: 7 Seconds

Walk Together, Rock Together EP (Positive Force Records, 1984)

In my mind, 7 Seconds were the kings of the high school punk anthem in the '80s even if very few high school kids ever heard of them. I remember being at a big party several years ago in which a prominent politician (Democrat if you must know) was present. When it came time to offer toasts and make speeches, he had the audience cheering and yelling and yet when I later thought about what he said, it was pretty much, well, nothing - he just made everyone feel good about themselves.

If you look too closely at songs like the scene unity rocker "Walk Together, Rock Together" you start finding yourself taking it apart too much and not just enjoy the fine hooky chorus and neck flexing verse. I won't bore you with a deconstruction but if you ask yourself the song's central question, you can find about a hundred reasons to say no. But it's so damn hooky that I woke up at 2AM today with the chorus playing in an inifite loop earworm - I had to sing "Can't Touch This" to myself (that's my number one "earworm" song previously) to get it out.

If there's anything I didn't like about this record, though, it's the drummer who did stupid shit like cowbell fills - totally destroys their otherwise rousing cover of "99 Luftballoons" (also their biggest download on iTunes and what they're most known for) . He also occasionally slows down and speeds up - I'm sure he's gotten much better since and as a drummer, perhaps I'm overly critical.

"In Your Face" was their little tribute, I guess, to the guy who produced this record - one Ian "that's pronounced Mak-Ky'" MacKaye - picks up the Minor Threat gauntlet quite well.

Some of the other songs go a little bit overboard with the Positive Youth Politics - "Remains to Be Seen" - their band origin song, sounds like a party manual:
"And through the years our anger went /
toward more progressive goals /.../
Our main goal is to better ways /
And help communication/
With our positive commitment"
Ooookay. ... however when Kevin concentrates on the hooks and anthems -- and keeps the lyrics simple and raw - such as "In Your Face" -- you can't really argue with him.


These songs are available on a CD that compiled these tracks with several compilation songs - including some other classic anthems - "We're Gonna Fight" and "Regress No Way" - this can also be found on the major download services.

Band photo below is sort of a fashion-don't statement and since I was never very fashionable, I'm not trying to mock them but... between Kevin Second's famous "handmade white T-shirt as sweater vest" fashion statement and surfer dude-tool drummer, well I'll just shut my effing mouth now before one of their fans tells me to. And I'm not gonna say anything about the half-haircut guy Dan Pozniak (who only played with them from '83-'85)- he looks too much like Travis Bickle. You can look at latest pictures of Kev, Steve and Troy here.


New Rips: Jens Lekman and Blood Music

I have to hand it to Insound and their customer loyalty program - I have dropped some bucks there in the past few years and they keep sending me cool freebie stuff like two tickets to see Magnolia Electric Co and these limited edition 7"ers.

I liked Jens You So Silent CD (Secretly Canadian) which was a compilation of some of his EPs and singles and so was real happy to see this version of "A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill" arrive in the mail. The big diff here is that Jens gives a lengthy introduction to the song which is about the unexpected joy of coming home. It makes me want to go back home. I had a "Hammer Hill" in my past - a graveyard that overlooked the town where we used to go to quaff a brew or smoke and so long as we didn't make a mess, no one ever complained or knew. I'm not sure if the memories are as exhuberent as this song suggests.

"Introduction - A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill" - Jens Lekman

The flipside is a from band I hadn't yet heard - the Swedish Blood Music's "The Hair" which has been available on the net here - my rip below includes the introduction that sort of explains the song. It's another happy-poppy Swede song about a woman who wants to give the singer her hair... I guess. Hey, it's got a vocoder for all you 80's music lovers out there.

"Introduction - The Hair" - Blood Music

Monday, January 08, 2007

Lileks and Links

I've kinda stopped reading him lately but this quote from James Lileks deserves Bartlett action (or maybe Jack Handey "deep thoughts" action):
"It's hard to say goodbye, unless of course someone just punched you and is walking away."
Here's a collection of links from the past few days:
- David Byrne's Freak Folk playlist
- Mapsadasical on the new Animal Collective EP
- Two Amplitude posts after a month or two of silence
- Driftwood Singers present some Pacific Island music
- A Junior Boys video that you Internet-IPod types will enjoy (via Antville)
- Bardo Pond Peel Session
- Crud Crud does Pakistani Folk
- Entire first year of Thrasher Magazine is now online

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

More Fun With Spam

Since my posting on using Spam message headers for band names was such a big hit, I also have found another exploit in Spam.

Looking for a cool pseudonym, so you too can be like John Cougar or Bob Dylan? Spam may hold the key to that as well:

  • Reflected H. Ordnance
  • OSHA L. Airedale
  • Jacques Lester
  • Bao Candelaria
  • Unsympathetic B. Chiffon
  • Dialectic R. Housemaids
  • Robber C. Uneconomical
  • Bobbing V. Trickery
  • Hari Karen
  • President General
  • Sarah Slaughter
  • Horn L. Phil
  • Beatrix Brock
  • Burgerking V. McDonalds
  • Mr. Minor
  • Bryn Tweesdales
  • Love Joes

Here's an example on how to use both tricks! Hey kids, need a new band name and artist name for your black sex metal electronic band? How about Whorehaus Mutilatio starring Sarah Slaughter on guitar, Mr. Minor on bass/keyboards and Hari Karen on drums with special guest vocals by Bao Candelaria (moaning and groaning)?

It was only a matter of time...

... although I don't have the time to check it out fully this AM, this blog purports to have the entire VU 1966 "acetate" album (the one that sold for $25k on e-Bay recently) for download here.

Update: the link is legit - the cuts are a bit scratchy.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Suicide: 1st Album

I hadn't thought of this until today but 2007 will mark the 30th anniversary for this album. I was listening just yesterday to an oddball song by a band that made it to alot of Best of Lists (The Knife's stomach-turning - but in a good way - "Na Na Na") and it struck me that if Suicide hadn't invented the cold, horror movie electronic landscapes in this album that it might have taken us about 30 years to figure it out.

I'm gonna forswear posting or talking too much about the obvious ones here - I mean they're all great tracks which if you haven't already heard then shame on ya-- everyone listens to "Rocket U.S.A." and "Ghost Rider" over and over again, right? The thing that strikes me from listening to those more well-known songs and some of the others here is how influenced they were by 50's rock and roll and 60's garage rock. It's said that Vega used Elvis Presley as a model for his singing and I can believe it, kinda like a half-dead Elvis but then again he was kinda half-dead for most of the '70's.

I think one of the things that made the band's later records a bit lame was the "updating" of the influences (hip hop, new wave) rather than this more, uh, removed feel that they got by "futurizing" the past - that sort of retro-sci-fi feel, neh?

Then there's "Frankie Teardrop" -- that's in a class all of its own although it's what I think about most when I listen to a lot of bands these days -- and back in the '80s when bands like Big Stick were doing their more lo-fi thing. It's a song that I often find I can't listen to all the way through - but not because it's bad but it's so terrifying and real.

That said, I'm going to recommend today we consider the girl songs... start with uhm "Girl." The cha-cha beat and lounge lizard organ riff complement Vega's slinky yet sleepy seduction. He's like Iggy in another more laid-back dimension. That said, was I the only one surprised to learn Vega wasn't gay?

"Cheree" has the same feel, using those infamous "Wild Thing/La Bamba" chord riffs that fueled many, many garage band marathon jams. Rev's atmospherics, though, are what make this special to me - I can see why Steve Albini said that this was the only album he listened to that made his mother question whether he was on drugs. It was either this song or "Frankie"...

Suicide selections (all songs deleted after a few days so keep up with me here):

a scan of the back cover photo (credited to Michael Robinson)

These songs were ripped from the Dutch East India / Red Star mid-80's reissue of this classic album. Since then, Mute Records has been the keeper of the flame for Suicide. Their Suicide web page bio is as good as any and you can probably still find some new copies of the 2002 reish (and remaster) of the Blast First 1998 reissue - both of which came with a second CD of live performances from 1978.

In 2005, an "oral biography" of Suicide - called Suicide: No Compromise was released. I have yet to read it but it looks pretty cool. The previous link comes from the Suicide fan web site which includes a pretty extensive discography.

Some related listening:

  • "Crosses, 16 Blazin' Skulls" - Alan Vega from the latest Wire Magazine Tapper CD suggests that maybe he's kinda getting it back. Still I miss the "soul" of Martin Rev in here - Liz Lamere, his partner, does some of the keyboards. It's from a Spring 2007 release Station which is described as: " It is a diamond hard, gritty, electronic album with Vega’s signature neartime sci-fi , twisted vision of life & love in the 21st century & beyond."
  • "Na Na Na" - The Knife (in m4a format) in which a scared housewife wishes chemical castration upon a rapist uses the same minimal cold electronic soundscapes that Suicide might have coupled with a affecting voice (like Vega) and a warmer throbbing electronic sound that mirrors the essential bleakness the hopeless - yet very human - prayer.

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