Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some more SXSW selections...

I'm probably about a 10th of the way through these... no rhyme or reason to this, just the cream of the crop.

"I Knew" - 22-Pistepirkko. It has a gong in it and guitar played like bouzoki. What more do you need?

"Drove Through Ghosts To Get Here" - 65daysofstatic. A descriptive title for this ghostly electronica instrumental.

"Mystic Song" - The Berg San Nipple. French Indie-tronica in the Album Leaf - +/- style.

"Throw It Away" - The Pink Reason (photo via band myspace) Not reverb-drenched. Reverb-waterlogged. The kind of really awful good stuff that only works in lo-fi. I wasn't surprised to read after this made my hit list that the band has a 7" out via Siltbreeze.

"Wake Up Heroes" - Sally Crewe and The Sudden Moves. They sound like early Elvis Costello and The Attractions in this 1:19 chartbuster but she's got way better lines such as "If this car had a backseat, we'd be in it" - something I'm sure Ed Begley regrets about his electric car.

(photo via Village Voice via 12xu)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

SXSW 2007 MP3s, Edition 1

I'm way behind on the yearly daunting task of trying to listen to every MP3 up on the SXSW site... I think the festival is basically over by now but I've tried to ignore as much of the hype as I could so it didn't affect my listening parties.

Here's my first set... let me know what you like.

"Jim's Room" - Nina Nastasia & Jim White. Very quiet singer-songwriter folk piece with above-the-cut lyrics from former Touch and Go artist Nina Nastasia(left) - made extra-special by Jim White's understated drumming and Steve Albini's pristine recording. From last year's overlooked On Leaving.

"Catching and Killing" - Youth Group. Worst band name of the bunch but this several-year old poppy single from this aging Aussie band still wears well.

"Ecstacy" - zZz. This garage-tronica piece - think Jim Morrison fronting a trance band with 60's instruments makes you wanna put the lava lamps and colored lamps on and stick your girlfriend inna birdcage and say, "dance, Sister, dance"...

"Ping Pong" - x-Wife. Nice little pizzicato guitar riff frames this post-punker.

"Waste" - White Christian Romance. 10cc weren't really that bad of a band and this reminds me of some of their stuff - lush orchestral synths, cascading piano chords and vocals that provided whispered rhythmic counterpoint fitted in with a baritone guitar lead.

"Through A Keyhole" - Walter Meego. People might not like the nasal falsetto vocals here but it fits the whole paranoid mutant stalkerish vibe.

"Deen" - Wativ. Cutting edge jazz - don't get put off by the longish robot-analog reverb drum intro -- let it work for awhile --the aural payoff occurs when the strings made up to sound like wailing dogs kick in and the analog (moog?) synth starts cranking up.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

In An Aeroplane With My iPod and Soduku Book

Some random tracks/images that just sound/look too darn good in the earbuds not to share and encourage you to seek these artists and albums because I'm just a nice guy with nothing else to do on a Saturday morning...

note: this song is probably not a tribute to famous asexual philospher Simone Weil

"Simone" is a liar. You pronounce her name "See-Moan-Ay" and she's a double-dealing, cheating lying dirty dog. Two-faced, too. If I wasn't up high in some airplane, I'd wanna scrunch up over my guitar and scratch out some wicked stereo feedbackish riffs over some retread psyche-drone just to get even with the bea-atch... (Calla: Strength in Numbers - tour)

I couldn't find a picture of The Besnard Lakes, so this picture OF Besnard Lake (rife at is with phallic symbology) will have to do

"Because Tonight" - Bobby has some brass knuckles in the inside pocket of his school letter jacket and Donna can feel them as he slow dances with her in the roadhouse. This was the song the band was supposed to play before Bobby pulled out those knuckles and went after Big Ed. (The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse - currently on tour)

Daniels chomps down with some sharp teeth but finds he can't swallow until you look away

"American Pastime" - The guy who's girl was so into baseball that he had to write this breakup song for her. I don't remember the term "send a bullet across her spine" being some sort of sports phrase. (more bitter break-up music on David Karsten Daniels' Sharp Teeth - currently on tour)

Ian and Amy reveal true identiy as soul-sucking, corporate vampires

"Minding One's Business" I got both of The Evens new album at the same time but I find the first one way more interesting, experimental, together, cohesive (if that's a good thing) than the second one (Get Evens) which is more strident, less daring, more musically "competent" (if that's a bad thing) and, well, less interesting. It also sounds like the two songwriters are starting to go their separate ways and that's a bad thing cuz they really clicked together in the first album. Shoulda listened to it more when it came out, but oh well, there's still plenty in stock for everyone else to catch up. (The Evens: The Evens)

Deerhoof E.S.P. powers former guitarist's head explode - how sad, how bad
photo by Asha Shechter, NYTimes

"Believe E.S.P." Trying to avoid making lists but this new Deerhoof album is def. got me by the shorthairs for 2007's best overall CD. Don't know how else to describe except as an anti-breakup album (maybe DKD's album is still resonating in my head as I write this). It features some surpringly great arrangements, incredible drumming and percussion and some really wild multi-vocals and makes their "weirdness" go beyond just something "special" into something truly mindblowing. It's like the band blossomed from this little petite crooked tulip into a giant skyscraper-sized multi-hued sunflower in the space of two years. (Deerhoof: Friend Opportunity)

It's true that he was born this way...but don't laugh at him at least to his face

"Pocket Knife" Notable for several things - one being that this is one of the coolest one-man band songs I've ever heard and this, along with his stellar work recording harp for J. Newsom, adds yet another notch in Steve Albini's recording belt. (Phillip Roebuck: Fever Pitch)

Did someone say Kinky Vans?

"Kinky Vans" - A mindless meld (Pfork called it "derivative", ha ha) of what sounds like a live string quartet, classical guitar, piano with bleets and blats, instrument samples and a high pitched drum machine. It all should make as much as sense as the title and it does and it doesn't. But it's quite a pretty thing for floating above the clouds. Released in 2005 in the UK. (Tunng: Mother's Daughter and Other Songs - short US tour happening this week)

FINAL THOUGHT: "A mind enclosed in language is in prison." - Simone Weil

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Thomas Truax: Spook Show

(PsychoTeddy Records, 1988)

Here's one I forgot I had - an EP (or is it a mini-LP?) of very badly recorded synth-goth -- think of the most overwrought Cure song and then imagine it recorded on a 4-track cassette with Radio Shack microphones... This promo came to my post office box in the late 80's from Thomas Truax, whose PR photos (see below, too) suggest he was trying to cast himself as a pretty boy Edwardian vampire.

Truax has since been sporting more of a Mad Scientist personna - inventing instruments such as his "Hornicator" (a video showcasing the instrument is here) - he's also gotten better in his recording techniques. Drowned in Sound calls him a "one man anti-folk machine." At any rate, his website disavows this recording - there's no mention of it in the discography.

Couldn't really bring myself to digitize much of this except for the pretty little music box instrumental (unintentionally made prettier by the "vinylizing" effect) called "Above My Bed." Listening to it reminds of music you might have heard on a Tim Burton movie of which I was a big fan in the late 80's even though I never got much into the "goth" thing.

I've included a newer song below from Mr. Truax (hope he doesn't mind), which I kind of enjoy, called "Escape from the Orphanage" and it's readily available at his website here.

An accompanying Truax show review to the Drowned In Sound page compares Truax's live performance to Tom Waits saying, "because there's a creativity about it and an attractively skewed aesthetic at work..." He appears to be playing 'round UK and Ireland at this point in case you want to check him out.

"Above My Bed" - from the out of print Spook Show
"Escape From The Orphanage" - from the 2002 Full Moon Over Wowtown

For your enjoyment, here's some of the PR material that was included in this promo EP I received when I was still doing a fanzine:

Love the "cat and mouse photo" above. I've researched but can't find any reference to co-producer Frederic Harris having been associated with Klaus Nomi.

Promo photo from Spook Show package
Although all the parts on this record are played by Truax, his touring band line-up is in the promo materials above. Bassist Stephan Wichnewski (believe that is the guy second from the left but go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong) played on Yo La Tengo's New Wave Hotdogs and the President album in the late '80s.

There was also a nice little hand-crafted lyric sheet put together in a format like a mini-zine.

More links:
Saved Round:
Truax claims in his bio he is an illegitimate son of Screamin' Jay Hawkins and works as an animator on Cartoon Network's Robot Chicken.