Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Legendary Pink Dots

The Golden Age
Wax Trax Records, 1988

Yeah, so this is kinda a slag so if you like teacups and daffodils, you might want to opt out... it's not really a slag but I'm just not feeling too nice right now and I'm gonna have to load on some abstract object -- it's better than kicking a dog, right? Well maybe it is a slag and I know this band is well-loved the world round so I'm probably gonna lose a few readers so just chalk it up to other things. 'kay?! KAY?

So...I'm not a "Dots" fan and since this is a cut-out, I'm guessing this got in my collection during my rawk critik year(s) for which I still do pennance every day, every night. I'll say this much for them (LPD, not my RC year(s)) -- they're better than Robyn Hitchcock (and so long as YOU brought up the subject, I have to say I was delighted to find Hitchcock AND U2 in my brother-in-law's rather dismal CD collection snicker snicker haw haw-- not to mention all that really, really, really bad jez, er, Jazz that was in there... what with all his literary snobbery towards me -- he sighs at me because I haven't read Joyce and made fun of the whole whateverday they had recently, go figure -- it's nice to know his musical tastes are so laughably sucky - makes me think perhaps he's got it wrong with books too.....) .......

The problem with LPD is many - first why do they feel like appending many of their songs with these fucking tedious "psychedelia" epilogues that go on forever -- I suppose it would "trip you out" if you still smoke dope but I don't and so I'm bored. If you have a good song editor, I suppose you can fix the songs - yay deconstruction! - but is it worth it?

Also, the lyrics and the whole Moody Blues low-fi thing just grates me (and the last cut "Regression" makes this POINT all too clear) -- y'know like the way Tood Rundgren's voice makes me kinda nauseous. Since LPD seem to be a much loved band, hmmm go figger -- there's tons of MP3s out there - check here for legals, here, too I think and here for the entire album on a thank-God-for-us-winning-the-Cold-War probably illegal but really fan-love Russian site. If you really must, I recommend "Maniac" and "The Month After" ... "Maniac" has some nice guitar work (from future full-fledged member Bob Pistoor) and "The Month After" has a nice hook -- although it does stand for a little editing - I've deleted just about everything and faded it out after 4 minutes... again, yay for the deconstructive power of digital audio (and video, whatever)... "The More it Changes" isn't a bad tune either and to be fair, I think their later '90s stuff is semi-ok if you check out the Epitonic link. "As Long as It's Purple and Green" works for a few minutes, at least.... HEY, tryin' to say something good here, work with me.... Still there's better stuff you could be putting on your shelf, I'd wager. I mean, I'd rather listen to Handel - he's English, right - or the new Fall CD.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Having a Bernstein Moment

Chichester Psalms, 4th Movement
128 kbps, 7.4 mb, 8.13 minutes

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
First performed, 1965

Choral Society of Greensboro/Greensboro Symphony Orchestra
May 2001
Stuart Molina, conducting
Referring page

"Of time to think as a pure musician
and ponder the art of composition.
for hours on end I brooded and mused
on materiae musicae, used and abused;
On aspects of unconventionality,
Over the death in our time of tonality,
Over the fads of Dada and Chance,
The serial strictures, the dearth of romance,
"Perspective in Music" the new terminology,
Pieces called "Cycles" and "Sines" and "Parameters" --
Titles too beat for these homely tetrameters;
Pieces for nattering, clucking sopranos
With squadrons of vibraphones, fleets of pianos
played with the forearms, the fists and palms
-- And then I came up with the Chichester Psalms.
These psalms are a simple and modest affair,
Tonal and tuneful and somewhat square
Certain to sicken a stour John Cager
With its tonics and triads and E flat major.
But there it stands the result of my pondering,
Two long months of avant-garde wandering -
My youngest child, old-fashioned and sweet.
And he stands on his own two tonal feet."

-- Leonard Bernstein, October 1965 (New York Times)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Coffee and Cigarettes, Mix #4

This morning's mostly acoustic mix inspired by Brown Bunny, soon playing in your local mediaplex if it isn't already...

Beautiful - Cowboy Junkies - This cover of the Gordon Lightfoot song isn't on the soundtrack but Lightfoot is. (found object? encoded at 32 kbps - referring page, Junkies)

Milk and Honey - Nick Drake - The John Franks version appears on the soundtrack and he wrote it but here's Drake covering it with the sounds of the ocean in the background (found object? - referring page, Drake)

Falling - John Frusticante - Frusticante's acoustic compositions litter this roadtrip soundtrack and pretty much define the overall sound (found object - referring page, Frusticante - this is an awesome website for exploring his music and mind).

Leave all the days behind - John Frusticante - a vocal piece, reminds me of Joseph A.

I Don't Know - Kim Fields & October Skies - getting away from Brown Bunny and so long as we're doing the acoustic thing today, I thought I would slip this in from local western-tinged October Skies. I was their roadie one rainy day last April. This kinda reminds me of the opening theme from Firefly. (legal - referring page)

Pussy Train - The Nitlings. A trick on y'all. The first minute is acoustic but I couldn't resist a little rock and roll with my coffee. (legal - The Nitlings)

Wineboy - John Abram - nothing to do with Brown Bunny or even Pussy Train but a nice little trumpet piece to end things and go back to bed. (legal - John Abram, composer)

Update: You can buy the Japanese import Bunny CD here. It does not have Pussy Train on it.

Friday, August 27, 2004


House Burning Down (1987)
Dischord Records (023) - No Longer Available on LP or CD

A band of frustrated opportunities, noble ambitions that ultimately left you unfulfilled -- but for a time the best live hardcore band in DC and one of my favorite first records (Plays for Lovers). Two LPs was the sum total of their output but their influence was channeled into the first wave of emo (Rites, Happy go Licky, Fidelity Jones).

Tomas - designated "fool", sometimes played naked, hippy-rasta vibe, usually seen in the '80s down by Reagan's house banging drums. Most likely the lyricist which are often sublime - I'll throw some down at the bottom. Still around. Great hardcore singer.

Dug - owl-glassed floppy funky bass player (see also Descendents) with the v. serious studious respect-all-life PETA attitude. Once got into a Maximum R&R letter war over abortion (he wuz against it, everyone else for it). Tomas and Dug later formed Fidelity Jones. Last seen with All Scars. Accomplished computer engineer.

Fred - our hero. Black leather potential Jimi - great when he wasn't drunk, perhaps greater when he was. Just liked the guy more than the other two, nicer, more approachable. Didn't feel like you had to put a hair shirt on just to talk to 'im. Later in the under-rated, under-appreciated Strange Boutique. Shows up for SB reunion shows. Apologizes for anything he said or did while drunk.

Kenny - well, Kenny. Gotta say something nice - great guy, I guess, though I never met 'im. But just plain wrong as a drummer trying to keep up with Dug and Fred. One song ("Insurrection Song") would have been the best song of the album if he hadn't stumbled over the rhythm inna, what, third verse. Not sure if he's still kicking.

Beefeater - first multi-racial Dischord band I know. Don't know why they broke up so soon after forming but I surmise there was probably constant tension between the puritans and the hedonists. ' nuff said.

House Burning Down - trying to push the boundaries of what a Hardcore record was with the comedic Ian MacKaye introduction, the arty interludes, back-ups and so forth from a collective of, again, multi-racial guest artists (cellist Rogelio Maxwell, DC poet M'wile Yaw Askari, Dischord scenester Amy Pickering, Ian's bro Alec MacKaye who sings lead vocals on "With You Always"). As always, stellar production by Don Z of Inner Ear. And all this surrounds some decent but not awesomely great songs.

Ultimately, not a great record but good and an earnest stab at doing something different.


Live the Life - a hard rock - reggae cover of gospel artist's Thomas Dorsey's song closes the album suggesting the spiritual underpinnings of
Beefeater and the Dischord emo scene in general.

One Soul Down - this is more representative of what I remember of the band live and more evidence of their Christian leanings. Very tight, fast, with the blippin' base and some nice Fred guitar work. short and sweet. Here's the lyrics:

When i looked pon how the poor man died, i swear to you, my body cried
bound against the shooting post, say "i loved you" to your ghost
with black plastic bag around his head, led the brother to his bed
- O my God, help our dizzy souls, we know not what we do

And who did the shooting, and who stood by
And who eased th dead man down, just when he died
And who gave the order, and who obliged
And who stood by watching, as Brotherman died
And who had the callous, presence of mind
To cut the warm bundle, from his final bind?

Seen the body drop like the weight of stone, i can't believe we're so alone
I can't believe that one soul can shoot bullets at a living man
With lifeblood spilling to the ground, a head com falling so far down
- O my God, help our dizzy souls, we know not what we do

Here are some other cuts I found on someone else's site:

With You Always -
Faith's Alex MacKaye on vocals
Sinking Me - "Cryin' out loud, you're sinking me"
Bedlam Rainforest - about the years of daily protests in front of the White House

Notes: Recorded, where else, at Inner Ear. All Beefeater records are out of print at Dischord but there was a CD released that combined Plays for Lover with this LP.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I sprung for the Galaxie 500 1987-1991 DVD set in some sort of impulse buy - most likely too much coffee or some sort of desire for early swoon-psyche-rock. Alas, this is a DVD where it matters if you have a home entertainment speaker system -- their music makes sense only when blasting (but not distorted blasting). I don't have such a luxury so I'm taking it over to a pal's house this weekend - someone who saw one of the shows included on the set. I guess I could wire it into my stereo but that's like too much fumbling with wires and moving furniture to be any fun. I guess my next TV (in say 20 years) will have to come with all those new-fangled woofer-tweeter speakers sets.

The two DVD collection includes their only videos -- "Tugboat", "When Will You Come Home", "Blue Thunder" and "Fourth of July" - nice lo-fi hand-held arty things. The liner notes are superb because they are basically done like a fanzine interview by someone who knows the band inside-out - James McNew (and suddenly fanzine and Yo La Tengo).

Anyway, an added incentive for ordering the DVD was the ureleased 7" that was to be included. But when the DVD arrived in the mail, a note said the 7" had been "delayed"... here's the apologia I received today:

hi there,

your 7” is finally on the way.

please allow me to apologize for the long wait.

this is the first time Plexifilm has pressed vinyl and considering we are a DVD company, almost exclusively replicating digital formats,
we certainly learned a thing or two about the analog world.

thank you for very much for the order, i hope you are enjoying the DVD and will enjoy the 7” as well.

if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

thank you – chris

** **** ****** ******** ********** *************
Chris Ronis
Director of Marketing

So. Heh. The consequences of a diminishing industrial base in vinyl pressing, I guess.

Previous posting on the subject

Finally, since this is supposedly a MP3 blog - here's a rather fine cover of Snowstorm by Langdon Auger

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Help out the Doveman...

Doveman writes:

On very short notice, I'm trying to put together an article for Salon on protest music, to run next week during the RNC. So I'm looking for recent protest songs of all shapes and sizes, with bonus points if they're available for download somewhere.

Leave him an email or comment with the link. I've already sent him the Thurston Moore - Mike Watt collaboration cover.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Meanwhile back at the hardcore ranch...

I'm on business travel but while doing research for my next posting, I came across this cache of classic 80's punk hardcore MP3s. It's like finding a long-lost radio station while travelling through outer space.

Here's the link - go have a blast - allot of this stuff is out of print and the bands are defunct. There's even more if you browse around the directories above this link. I've got my laptop blasting right now.


Saturday, August 21, 2004

Coffee and Cigarettes, MP3 Web Mix 3

It's the weekend, time for a Coffee and Cigarettes mix, Saturday edition, - or music to listen to while fixing your grinder and savoring the last Romeo y Julieta (found in a Wash DC NE hole-in-wall tobacco shop).

"Never, Never Gonna Give You Up" - Barry White ( buy it - iTunes) (found object - referring page ) - Barry R.I.P. This song plays in the background during the opening scenes of Bullet, so don't give me any Ally McBeal shit.

"All Along the Watchtower" - Neil Young/Chrissie Hynde, 9-20-2000 Live at Red Rocks (found object - referring page) - not a great recording but an inspired cover of Dylan's great song. Young lovers might want to check out Neil's latest album (soundtrack from the movie Greendale) which is java-streamed in its entirety on his website (select "listen") as I think its some of his best new work in years.

Charles Bukowski "the good hot beer shit" monologue (legal?- referring page) - not sure when this was recorded, probably in the '80s but it pretty much explains why Bukowski wrote and wrote and wrote....

"Human Beatbox (improv)" - RZA (found object - referring page) - a rap tribute to kung fu movies from the other Wu Tang Clan guy.

"Redemption Song" - Wyclef Jean (found object? legal? - referring page) - Wyclef covers the Bob Marley standard

"Ol' 55" - TRE FYReR (legal - referring page - band homepage) - Norwegian acoustic cover band plays a "nice" version of the Tom Waits' classic

Fine print: I've added in links to some of the songs at iTunes. Hey, only 99 cents and the money goes to starving musician widows and/or mistresses. If you must sample for free, "found objects" refer to MP3s found on the web on other people's web pages. "Legal" downloads, of course means a supposed copyright holder approved URL.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Tellus #10 - All Guitars

An Audio Cassette Magazine #10
Harvestworks, 1985

Tellus was a mid-80's NY Council for Art supported project that put out a series of tapes, some of which are still available via their parent organization Harvestworks (see links below). This one brought together a lot of the Branca Symphony #3 graduates and assorted luminaries, obscure-types, and various 4-track basement geniuses for 70 minutes of never-know-what-to-expect guitar compositions, improvs and excerpts from greater works. Among the afore-mentioned luminaries were a slew of guitar jocks from various famous bands - Lee Renaldo, Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Mark C. (Live Skull), Bob Mould (Husker Du), Steve Albini. Tellus didn't skimp on getting the women artists involved with Lydia Lunch, Marnie Greenholz, Sue Hanel (Swans) and Janice Stone (now known for her visual art). Lesser known but still important jazzers like Elliot Sharp, Bond Bergland, Arto Lindsay and some others coming more from the classical (or semi-classical) side like Tim Schellenbaum and Glenn Branca himself.

Many of the tracks have a similarity to them. Sorta like what guitarists do when they're alone, reminiscent of the previously reviewed "Oh. Guitars." by Roger Miller - some of it pretty good (Bergland's "Moonlight Ride" and Hanel's "Dupe") and some of it forgetful (Moore's "Skrewer Boy" and Sharp's stratocaster duet "Solitons"). Other cuts are more innovative - Lee Renaldo contributes a stunning spoken word piece in which he overlays guitars to create the sounds of a steel bridge. Listen even to how he mimics the sound of leaving the bridge at the very end and hearing the other cars still going across recede into the distance. Then there are the pure noise guys - Bob Mould contributes a piece entitled "Soundcheck" which is an improv much in the spirit of Hendrix's "Star Spangled Banner" and Rudolph Grey's wall of sound entitled "1000 Luminous Flowers in the Red Pool".

I tried to like Branca's composition, an excerpt from "Acoustic Phenomena" (1983) , a piece combining harmonics guitar, mallet guitar and adapted harpsichords recorded on one of those wonderful Tascam 4-trk cassette recorders (and I can't tell the difference between supposedly better equipment). Like I said, I tried to like but perhaps because it was just an excerpt, I didn't get a sense of what he was trying to do. Steve Albini's contribution is contemptuously provocative. I won't even repeat the name of the one-shot group he formed with Urge Overkill's Nathan Katruud. But to their credit its a great piece of diverse overdubbed guitars punctuated by Albini screaming a hate-filled phrase every few measures. I suppose they wanted to get rejected so they could raise a stink about political correctness. But to Tellus's credit they put it in although right after a piece called "Rock That Baby" (which featured an infant's laughter). Speaking of diversity, one surprise is the absolute lack of nearly any world-influenced pieces. I would think a similar project submitted these days would draw from a lot more influences. About the only non-USA influenced piece is a simple round of guitars submitted by Angela Babin and Joe Dizney entitled "Work Song (Cameroon)" which is pretty but rather thin compared to the rest of the pieces.

I'm going to leave you with some of the better, but more obscure cuts:

"El Baile de la Penitencia dolorosa" - Tim Schellenbaum - Schellenbaum is a theater music composer and sound director in NYC. I believe his most recognizable work was with John Cameron in the stage productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This is a fun piece he did with his friends and an overdub machine that has some surprising sound effects and a hop-to-it energy.
"Dupe" - Sue Hanel - Hanel was part of the infamous van tour that kicked off the careers of Sonic Youth and The Swans. She didn't last long in that band but the original incarnation (which included Thurston Moore on a 2nd bass) was said to kill live. Out of the Metal Machine Music cuts on Tellus, hers is among the best and most interesting (it helps to keep this type of thing short too)

This item is still apparently available here. But it doesn't look like they have really set their on-line store up correctly as the price of the item is listed as $0.00.

Harvestworks Tellus has a two-LP set that is apparently being marketed to DJs. IF you go to this site and click on the "Sounds" button, there's a fun play page where you can mix your own samples from the LP. Check out the Harvestworks' site to see what they are up to (training the next generation of multimedia artists).

What? You want something from one of the rock stars?

Oh, okay, bandwidth be damned, here's Lee Renaldo's "The Bridge"

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Christgau Crack-up, Part 3

"Chief Music Critic" and "Senior 'Editor'" of the Village Voice Dr. Christgau reviews the new Ramones movie Endof the Century and tries to come to grips with Johnny Ramone:
Exciting and absolutely right though their '70s sets always were, the film establishes that they kept the faith live (sic) till the end, lifted by Joey's goofy dedication and powered by the chords Johnny thrashed out like they were why he was alive. As unyielding in his aesthetic principles as he was in everything else, this reactionary was an avant-gardist in spite of himself.
Hmmmm... aesthetic principles. Avant-gardist. Johnny Ramone. Whooookay.

And I'm still trying to figure out this sentence:
Although he's aged badly and will soon OD, Dee Dee's down-to-earth off-the-wall partakes (sic) of the same charm he radiates in the many welcome and miraculous archival clips. But Johnny's analysis and will carry the film (sic).
Probably just something that was lost in the translation to the web. Read the whole three paragraph article here.

Movie opens at least in NYC 20 August.

(And yes, I make plenty of typographical errors but then again I ain't a senior editor).

Update: On second thought, I really shouldn't be so negative towards Bob. Anyone who would write about the Ramones in a widely circulated paper oughta be patted on the back. Here's a link to the movie website. Peace, Bob.

Update 2: This is turning into a Ramones post. Here's the line-up for their 30th Anniversary party in L.a. (source)

Blink-182's Mark Hoppus, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and John Frusciante are among the acts scheduled to perform at the Ramones' 30th anniversary party September 12 at the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood. Henry Rollins, Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Pete Yorn, Rooney's Robert Carmine, Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz, the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' Dicky Barrett and Ramones producer Daniel Rey will also join Marky and Johnny Ramone at the place where the Ramones played their last show in 1996. The Dickies and "two very special unmentionable bands," according to RamonesWorld.com, will also perform, and former drummer Tommy Ramone will speak. ...
What no women? Joan Jett? Bebe Buell? Hell, Pink, anyone? Anyone know who the unmentionable bands are?

Monday, August 16, 2004

Around the block...

- Bob Mould has a new cut up on his "Bob Blog"- The Suburbs World War III with his own personal memories of the Twin Cities scene circa 1978. Read it here.

- Tom Wolfe has a new book coming out entitled I Am Charlotte Simmons. I enjoyed A Man In Full (read it twice) and Bonfire of the Vanities for his ability to skewer everything at once. Unfortunately, his website has not been updated. Wolfe would make great online journal, doncha think? Here's Amazon's description of the plot - I'm intrigued and glad to see Wolfe is coming out with another long-form novel:

Dupont University--the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition . . . Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a freshman from Sparta, North Carolina (pop. 900), who has come here on full scholarship in full flight from her tobacco-chewing, beer-swilling high school classmates. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that Dupont is closer in spirit to Sodom than to Athens, and that sex, crank, and kegs trump academic achievement every time.

As Charlotte encounters Dupont's privileged elite--her roommate, Beverly, a fleshy, Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jayjay Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose heady sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Geller, one of the Millennium Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus--she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of her difference and of her very innocence, but little does she realize that she will act as a catalyst in all of their lives.

- I don't know about you but I am becoming very overwhelmed by all the music blogs out there now. It's like an avalanche. I don't aggregate on MP3blogs.org because many of my posts don't have MP3s appended to them but I found it very convenient for my RSS feed - but now I think I might have to do what Fuzzy does and create my own aggregator because it seems everyone is now on that thing and its hard to make sense.

- Finally... I'm tired -- I just finished a first draft of a hard-to-write essay on a very difficult film in my movie blog. At first I hated the film but then as I watched it a second and third time, I started to see that the director was making some sense and wasn't just trying to exploit the viewer. I don't totally agree with what he has to say but I think it's very a very clever way that he did it. Anyway, the review is here on my other blog (and apologies for shamefully plugging it but I would like to get some other people's take on what I wrote). The movie is Irreversible and it was pretty controversial last year. Anyway, if you have seen the film and have an opinion or just want to read mine - it's here. I have some more ideas to add to it (mainly the relation to Kubrick who also made films about subjects that aren't always immediately identifiable), clean it up a bit so it has some better structure and, of course, as with all my writing it needs to be proof-read several times to fix my dyslexic mistakes.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Billboard/Reuters continues the MP3 blog storyline

The latest article on the "controversy" is here.

RIAA's spokeman responds to Billboard:
"It's up to individual copyright owners to decide how their works should be distributed," says a spokesperson for the Recording Industry Assn. of America. "Those who choose an MP3 blog to boost attention -- that is their choice, because they're the ones making the decision, rather than some third-party profiteer deciding for them. In terms of piracy, it's an issue we're monitoring, and we could decide at any time to make this an enforcement priority."
Translation: We realize that the recording industry sees this development as an alternative means to market their product. Our hands are full with all the other lawsuits we have initiated against peer-to-peer users. We reserve the right to go after them if the industry sees fit.


Homestead Records (HMS 025), 1985

Antietam ca. 1985 (photo by Jim DeRogatis)

Antietam's first LP is an uneven introduction to the band that would eventually conquer Hoboken's (which, at least in the mid-80's means the U.S.A.'s) indie-pop scene with later LPs Music From Elba and Burgoo. Although there are some clunkers in themselves, some of the otherwise excellent songs ("Shively Spleen" "Ready, Swing") are either marred by a drummer who stumbles over the beat or some (purposely, perhaps, but annoying nevertheless) off-key vocals.

Like a plan by Hannibal, though, some of the tracks miraculously come together -- portending future greatness and showcasing librarian-by-day rock-goddess-by-night Tara Key's more than mission-capable guitar talents. With the two bass set-up and no second guitar, you can see her building up her capability to shift seamlessly between lead and rhythm quite well, thank you, and preparing for the day the other bass would go away.

Tim Harris (Mr. Tara Key), who along with Ms. Key remains in Antietam to this day, shares the bass line with Wolf Knapp in most songs but it's hard to find anything really distinct about this - ala, say Dos, -- they seem to be playing the same bass line (or maybe my stereo's just not that good). Comparisons to R.E.M. have been made but there's also a distinctly good chance Ms. Key was listening to Burma records as well -- as we can tell from "Orange Song" (best song of this LP and later covered by their pals and future collaborators Yo La Tengo)... and we're going to redeem young Mr. Weinert, the aforementioned drummer, by giving special praise to his oddly-metered song (co-written with Tim Harris) "Red, Black and Blue". I like how the vocals shift along with the rhythm and the rhythms correspondingly showcase Key's angular playing.

And, furthermore, therefore and whatfor, I wanna mention X before I'ma mentionin' R.E.M., lesser thinkers be damned, - I mean, maybe I'm dumb but I can't find anything that pays as much tribute to Exena-Doe's vocal gymanstics as "New Song" - sure you can say "Shively Spleen"'s guitar-with-bass-lead does this to REM but I also think of Joy Division, so, as they say in Key's homestate, THAR. Suffice to say in Antietam (the album) we are hearing band that is, at least embryonically, coming to terms with their own unique sound and maybe we should be comparing later R.E.M. to Antietam rather than vice versa.

For the Tara Key aficionados, I'd suggest you also check out the more experimental instrumentals ("Gospel According to John B" in partic.) that appear here - as more clear evidence of what break-out she was ...

This album is unjustly out of print and hard to find as is, even more unjustly, Elba and Burgoo. A box set or at least a compendium that puts together the better tracks is in order, doncha think? The band does have some recent material which I suggest you check out-- see Carrotop below.

My copy, alas, is marred by significant surface noise on the second side ('m givin' it a G, as a result). This is a bit of an attestment to the length of time it spent on my turntable, I guess. I'll probably clean it up later when I learn how to use Dart Pro and Goldwave (my new toys) a little better.

Orange Song
Red, Black and Blue

Antietam's Carrottop web page
Band endorsed fan website
0 Tara Key says she's proudest of this interview in Guitar Player mag
VH1 (AMG) History of

(as stated previously, tracks are offered temporarily, in accordance with fair use and to encourage discussion and scholarship on the subjects in a salon-type fashion. Readers who like said tracks are encouraged to bang down record company's doors to get this stuff back into circulation and to buy or at least investigate, if available, the artist's current repitoire. If the copyright holder objects to these tracks being made available, even in their shoddy recorded from vinyl compressed audio version, the author of this website would be more than happy to accomodate their wishes, bow at their feet and lick the crumbles of brie off their lawyer's wingtips while not admitting guilt or anything else).

Coffee and Cigarettes, Mix 2

...being a collection of songs and spoken word for people nursing hangovers and folding laundry... (some of these tracks are "legal" in the sense that they originate from the supposed copyright holder's supposed website... others are more like "found objects" - we of course recommend you seek out and offer tribute to the original artists by walking across the country on broken glass-lined shoes pushing a wheel barrow of cash...)

In The Death Car
- (found object?) Goran Bregovic and Iggy Pop collaborate and the results are about the farthest-out thing you may have ever heard Iggy do "I wanna hear the mandolins" -- this comes from the soundtrack of the Johnny Depp film Arizona Dream (1993) which is on my "get it out on DVD now, bitch" list... buy it here

Mean Old Chicago - (legal) Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, sideman for Muddy Waters provides our trad. rhythm and blues this morning. That's Bob of course on the wailin' guitar. If you ever are in the mood for the blues, Bob's a good place to start. I first heard Bob way back in the early '80s when he had just started his own band. I even beat his drummer at a game of pool while Bob looked nonchalantly on.

Wayfaring Stranger (legal)- Here's a return to the Coffee and Cigarettes mix from local boys Jericho Bridge of this beloved traditional song. Don't you find yourself singing harmony on the chorus?

You Can't Kill the Rooster (found object?) - Hey, best-selling author & NPR staple David Sedaris might not be cool in some parts but he tells great stories that folks from my generation can identify with readily. Here's a story about his (now) famous brother, The Rooster, who makes his living a bit south of here. Referring page here. You can buy David's books everywhere. You can book him for your next party here.

The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore (found object) - PJ Harvey song from "Stories from the Cities, Stories From the Sea." This is the referring page. You can buy it here.

Ring of Fire (legal) - Universal Hall Pass is another Balkan-Eastern European influenced song in our mix. Why? Because in Eastern Europe the coffee is strong and the cigarettes come without filters. That's why. Here's a cover of that ol' John R. Cash favorite.

Innocent When You Dream (found object) - Billy's Band makes it again for our last song (and another East of Europe artist) with the great Tom Waits song that works for both that last shot of vodka (or coffee in our case) and a mid morning snooze... And what better thing to do on a Sunday morning ... you can buy Billy's Band CDs - fuck if I know, geez! (Referring page)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Going around the block in 60 seconds:

Dateline: Louisiana. Johnny Rotten likes bugs?
An interesting snippet has been received from Jason, who works at Louisiana State University. "One of my students took part in an excavation at a local national forest, Kistachie, to observe Leaf-Cutter ants native to the region. The dig was filmed for the Discovery Channel and the host was none other than John Lydon. My student did not get to talk much with the celebrity, but she did get to observe his behavior, especially his interest in insects. The filmed segment should be broadcast in 2005."
Source: God Save the Sex Pistols

Dateline: San Pedro. Secrets of Double Nickels on The Dime Revealed

So on Double Nickels—well, that was a couple of jokes that no one got. Well, one joke was against Sammy Hagar, right? And one joke was on Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma, where each guy got a side [of the record]. So each of us have a solo song on Double Nickels. My solo song is “I’m Reading the Land Lady’s Note About the Tubs Leaking.” (According to the track listing for Double Nickels, the actual title is “Take 5”)

I have other guys playing guitar [on the track]—John Rocknowski (from Tragic Comedy), Joe Baiza (Saccharine Trust/Melcolodiacs/Universal Congress Of), because this is a solo song without D. Boon playing—ha ha, what a joke. And then I was reading the landlady’s note…when she’s talking about the shower and the water is coming through. I said to D Boon, “Is this real enough, D. Boon?” (laughs) Nobody got it, I was writing some abstract, surreal poem. It’s a fucking landlady joke. And no one got the thing about double nickels on the dime. It’s about doing the speed limit exactly.

Josh: On the 10 freeway? That’s what I always got from it.

Mike: The 110 freeway used to be called the 10. The Santa Monica freeway and the 110 is where we took the picture. It means exactly going 55 mph because Sammy Hagar had a record called “I Can’t Drive 55.” He had the red line through the 55, so we did it without the red line because we thought, “This guy is taking chances driving but his music is the tamest shit ever!” So we thought we’d go real crazy with the music and then drive real safe (laughs). It was like, nobody got it.

Source: Worldy Remains

Dateline: Vancouver. Warren Ellis Blogs From Global Frequency Set

Warren Ellis's comic book is being adapted for TV by the WB and he's on the set phone photo blogging the action for his Die Puny Humans. Vinyl Mine Worship Object Michelle Forbes (Homicide, Swimming With Sharks) is set to co-star and has slipped a mysterious CD-R under Warren's door. Filthy Monkey isn't just planning...

Dateline Manchester. The Fall's 24th Peel Sessions Online

The Fall Multimedia Project webpage has MP3s of their appearance on Thursday night here.

1. Clasp Hands, mp3, 6.36mb, 4.37 mins
2. Blindness, mp3, 8.98mb, 6.32 mins
3. What About Us? (Shipman), mp3, 8.00mb, 5.49 mins
4. Wrong Place, Right Time / I Can Hear The Grass Grow, mp3, 9.55mb, 6.57 mins
Hat tip to The Fall "Official" Website (Link to the right)

that's all - I'm getting tired of all the clicking, pointing, windowing and pseudo-newsblogging - check out the links to the right...

Oh and a big melting vinyl thanks to Agony Shorthand, my fave music-only crit site for the generous mention. Not sure I can live up to the build-up but here's to ya.

The Velvet Teen @ DC9, 8/13/04

... so I finally put aside my fear and disgust of crowds and people in general and made my way out in the cruel cold world - but not before another wonderful weekend METRO IS OPENING DOORS experience, sitting on concrete benches, watching a skinny bespeckaled, ah, gentleman harass girls (and get harassed by the metro cops), tick, tick, (the green line will arrive in 19 minutes)...tick, tick... oh, look someone thoughtfully left behind a 1991 Bronco Auto manual, that took all of two seconds to hold my interest... oh, wait, what's happening, the car is being packed in like sardines at Chinatown with people clutching Prince Musicology CDs. Oh, it's 1130 and PRINCE has left the building and so have several thousand suburbanites.... get up and offer my seat to the senior citizen PRINCE fan and then roll my way through the crowd of PRINCE FANS (who totally seem like they just got back from a Ernest movie, very blase') - sorry folks, I'll think I'll wait until he shows up at my doorstep selling copies of The Watchtower but WAH let me out, now!

.... finally, I'm at SHAW... ah, wonderful gentrifying SHAW... where a turn up the wrong alley could mean a roll in the shattered glass or an offer of a spliff. I'm totally disoriented and first start heading into Slumville and then turn around once I realize my mistake (seeing an ominous cigarette glowing in a shadow out of a corner of my eye)... I head UP 9th street through narrow sidewalks until I finally reach the bottom part of the whole U STREET scene (which, on the whole, is probably the best part of town on a weekend - just for sheer diversity of things to do), count off addresses and there's DC9, a venue characterized by a dark (and I mean dark) smoky bar on the first floor (with a huge, and I mean huge, digital jukebox) and then you go through a curtain to the second floor which is about the size of a two-bedroom apartment where the band is just starting.

OK, why VELVET TEEN and not, say, A.C. NEWMAN (whom I believe is in town) and obviously the cool kids dude of choice? Well, I wanted something a little smaller, perhaps more chill-out material - it's been a bad week. Boss on vacation for second week and me playing bartender (i.e., temporary boss) to the borderline sociopaths, cranky old farts and temperamental geniuses at my workplace AND we're in the middle of a complex and frustratingly difficult demonstration.

So after perusing their website, I settled up on these boys and this venue as the closest to giving me something different and without all the 930/Black Cat crowded to the gill with scenesters drama. Ordered a beer, lucked upon a booth being vacated so I even got to sit through their 90 minute set of mostly Dreemo, lush open piano petal type stuff - didn't get to see much of the band but I usually close my eyes anyway and enjoy the "you-are-there" sound. VT are a three piece - drummer, bassist and a pianist/guitarist/lead vocalist - it seems like for their newer songs he plays piano and their older songs are guitar. Some of their songs are VERY good, tight - complex, with surprises here and there. Other songs are, well, not so memorable. I suppose there's a line, not a particularly fine line mind you, between this lush/dreemo Cutie sound and say groups like schmaltz-rawkers Nickelback or say original emo-boy Michael Bolten and occasionally Velvet Teen take a nosedive towards said line.

Not to say they don't play hard at the "pent-up emotional outburst" sections, and provide some good aural heroin to more than make up for the $8 cover... they've also found themselves a great new drummer, by the by, who plays on one of those '60's styles 4-piece, 2-cymbals, 1-hi hat set-ups and still makes it sound new and different each show. And the muscular confidence of their set suggests they aren't some Califahnyah emo-boys (or as the Govenator says "girlie-men") as some have made 'em to be. I'm not sure I'm what you would call a fan but they got my interest and are more energetic live than their MP3s from their latest Elysium make out.

By the way, according to Velvet Teen Judah "The Americas [who opened] were fucking awesome."

Here's a quick link to some of their better MP3s:

A Captive Audience

The Velvet Teen

Friday, August 13, 2004

Loverdolls Superstar

"In a scene of no values...Where climbing
to the top means climbing into bed...
Where drugs and cheap thrills fill the
date book...Where rock n' roll means
death and destruction... "

Lovedolls Superstar
SST, 1986

Lovedolls Superstar (the film) was Dave Markey's sequel to Desperate Teenage Lovedolls, both a sort of shoestring John Waters type venture minus the "Baltimore" wierdo/queer sensibilities and instead accented with spicy L.A. bad-girl-sass, tributes to Linda Blair's Born Innocent and the Zeitgeist of the "Just Say No" years.

The soundtrack for the 1st film is available on iTunes but this 2nd collection is strangely out of print and tapes of the actual movie are nigh impossible to find - hard to believe given some of the folks that played on it.

This is also more of a musical concept album than the a soundtrack. The McDonald Bros. of Redd Kross cover and write the Lovedolls songs and Greg Ginn & his labelmates provide pretty much the rest of the 16-song soundtrack... What there is musically of the "Lovedolls" is mostly actress Jennifer Schwartz competently doing the Runaways/Ramones deadpan sneer thing. The Lovedolls also receive backing from SWA (Schwartz's brother's band), Painted Willie and other SST luminaries: Meat Puppets, Gone, Lawndale(!) and Black Flag. Sonic Youth also stop in for a slightly uncharacterstic snotty "Hallowed Be Thy Name" - not their best but worth a spin. And...oh yeah, a Dead Kennedys song that is about as welcome as a PETA activist at a leather fetish show with their "One Way Ticket to Pluto"... whatever, I guess it was the price of getting Jello Biafra in the movie ...

Highlights include "Sunshine Day" - first snarky cover of that Brady Kids hit that I know of, "Atomic Jam" by Gone, a massive bonghit headrush of guitarzilla fuzz-distortion, "Darling She-la," Painted Willie's hawdcaw transvestite redux of Prince's "Darlin' Nicky." Of of the Lovedolls songs, I like the trashy "Beer and Ludes" that tells the sordid backstory of one of the Lovedolls ("by the time I was 14 I had seen it all/Bedknobs and Broomsticks and that's not all"). Moving down the scale a bit, Black Flag's "Kicking and Sticking" sounds like it was recorded in a tunnel and the Meat Puppet's "No Values" (originally by Black Flag) is a bit of a wigout though not unexpected of their stuff in that timeframe. The other two Gone tracks are pretty much background music in the key of H (fo' hippay) and the Lawndale track is kinda interesting in a Western Lounge lizard sorta way. There's also a hardcore parody - "Slam, Spit, Cut Your Hair, Kill Your Mom!" performed by Anarchy 6 (Redd Kross with Dave Markey on drums).

According to WeGotPower Films website, Lovedolls Superstar (the film) might be getting a re-release, presumably on DVD. Here's the 1986 trailer. About two -thirds of the way through you see Steve Mcdonald, a Crispin Glover look-alike ("I've only been here for five minutes, and you're only trying to teach me, hate, man, HATE, MAN

Here are the cuts:
Lovedolls Superstar (Redd Kross)
Hallowed Be Thy Name (Sonic Youth)

Notes/Links/Stupid Factoids:
  • Redd Kross website
  • Lyrics to Hallowed Be They Name
    • "Hallowed Be thy Name" was released as an apparently bootleg 7"
    • Originally performed by Alice Cooper
    • Played once live by Sonic Youth - never again says Thurston
    • Broadcast in Peel Session, 1986
  • No Values" by the Meat Puppets was originally recorded in 1981 in their LP recording session; It was written by Black Flag and appears on Jealous Again (1980)
  • Sky Saxon (Seeds) and Vicki Peterson (Bangles) also appeared on Lovedolls Superstar
  • Jeff and Steve McDonald appeared in Alison Anders Things Behind the Sun (2001) playing with J. Mascis in the lead character's rock and roll band.
  • Lead Lovedoll Jennifer Schwartz is the sister of Jordan Schwartz (SWA) and published We Got Power fanzine with the director of the film.

Posted by Hello

Being Tom Waits

Fuzzy (Herr K) links to a Dutch(?) site called Chips 'n' Cookies that has posted the entire album of Russia's Billy's Band Being Tom Waits. Billy's Band made a double appearance in my Tom Waits "Coffee and Cigarettes" mix last weekend. Since Billy's Band's records aren't available 'round here that I've found, perhaps we can create a groundswell of encouragement for some record distributor to take up the slack. Hey Billy, if you're listening, I bet you could even book a tour of some major US cities featuring this album (and) with the right promoter.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Bob now an MP3 Blogger

It's official - local DJ, former Husker Du rock god Bob Mould is now a MP3 Blogger. He's been talking about it for several days so I suspected this was coming.

Seems at least for the first post, he's sorta doing what I am doing - taking out of print vinyl from his collection and giving it second life. The difference here is that I'm being non-discriminatory - and blogging about anything in the collection whether it sucks, rocks, blows or goes although that might be the case with him as well...

I would suspect that I'm (we're?) going to go through some some vinyl awe, envy and angst, though, soon enough - I would bet his record collection to be monumental.

Anyway, welcome, Bob - I might even go see one of your shows someday, really... (and that stuff I said about your kvetching earlier, just keeding).

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Larry Robinson and Todd Homer

Mooseheart Faith
Mooseheart Faith LP
De Milo Records, 1988

What do you get when you combine a former member of the Angry Samoans with a refugee from an obscure Motown boy band? Why a retro-psychedelic combo, of course or Mooseheart Faith in its first album.

Raw and tenuous and sincere, this record's record overall is 20/40/40 (bad/fair/great). Some tracks ("We Can Conquer the World Today", "Time Has Told on Me") are just so unlistenable that I couldn't bring myself to even cut a digital version for further evaluation. Others are flawed, but still salvageable: From annoyingly overbearing and self-conscious vocals ("I Fade Away"), amateurish Farfisa playing ("Unhinged") or just not especially good songcraft ("Time Has Told On Me"), this set of songs could have used some more polishing and a slightly better recording engineer (the over-dubbed bass on most of the songs sounds like it was plugged directly into the back of the recorder).

Several though are mix-material and worthy of comment - "Golden Light", is a straight-ahead instrumental, "Love Went Bad" kinda reminds me of an early Dinosaur (Jr.) jamming with Joseph Arthur and "Back from Samoa" could be mistaken for a demo from Flaming Lips Yoshimi... and I rather like the epic silliness of "Aliens From Space" - it's sort of a Jad Fair and the Frogs time travel back to San Francisco goofy acid scene and writes a song about the locals.

Wish I could say something about the lyrics as the vocals are often incomprehensible BUT THEY DIDN'T INCLUDE THE LYRICS SO I GUESS WE'LL NEVER KNOW!!! (as you know this is one of my pet peeves).

This LP was released with extra tracks under the title of Golden Light but is no longer available (except on E-Bay). Mooseheart Faith is now known as Mooseheart Faith Stellar Groove Band, in case you missed the clue from their shorter name that they are a big homage to '60's folk-psyche. Their latest CDs can be found here (again, go to Forced Exposure for the best prices and selection) and I can't find any evidence to suggest that they AREN'T together.... And if you want to compare these cuts with their more polished folkie sound, go here to download a cut from a more recent LP (warning: very slow server).

Todd Homer was in the Angry Samoans and their epic and bitter breakup is hashed out once again here - I'm not totally sure that's Todd speaking at the bottom of the page, so take it with a grain of salt. Very little exists on the net regarding Larry Robinson's old band known as Apollo - I'm not even sure they were a boy band but that's what I read somewhere (can't find the reference anymore). Well, if it does exist, I haven't found it (try searching for Motown and Apollo, it's only something like 10,000 hits to wade through) so maybe someone else knows. Larry also dabbles in Persian music, from what I understand...'s'cool, s'cool... In contrast to yesterday's Slits, there's very little in the way of fan sites or discussions on this band which might be tellin' ya something.

Notes: This is a cut-out I received as a review copy while working for WDC Period. It's got a punched-out hole in the upper corner, there's a little surface noise in the outer grooves and one or two pops in the interior but overall is in VG+ condition.

Golden Light
Back From Samoa
Posted by Hello

Roundtable: Mp3 Bloggers

The folks behind some of the more popular MP3 and audio blogs were interviewed this morning. Here's my favorite quote (obviously).

MB = Mystical Beast
MB: As for scholarship, the current music system does a really terrible job of preserving the past, especially now that there’s a vinyl/CD divide (most people don’t have record players any more, so albums that never made it to CD are basically inaccessible to the general public). It would be nice if every artist/record label made it a priority to preserve their recorded legacy, but many aren’t interested for various reasons (usually, finances would be the main reason). The two most likely replacements are bootleggers and mp3 bloggers, and my sympathies are with the latter since we don’t charge, we distribute worldwide, and our products don’t wind up supporting eBay’s bottom line. I do understand copyright law, but there comes a point where my desire to defend, for example, Hilly Michaels’s (or his record company’s) right to keep his product off the market loses out to the fact that a fantastic album has missed an entire music-buying generation. I find it hard to see that as a positive.
I would say "word" but that's so shopworn. Does anyone know what we're supposed to say now?

As the professor says, read the whole thing...

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Slits

Typical Girls Won't Pay More Than $8.00 So Why Should You? Don't
Basic Records, 1981

(image courtesy Typical Girls Slits Online

So when Ioki posted the Slits cover of Heard it Through the Grapevine, well the challenge was on! Here we have a rather good "bootleg" from the Slit's 1980 tour - but released in 1981 around the time they got the CBS contract. Hear them in their unrestrained glory - side one (my preferred side) is set in San Francisco and side two in Cincinnati.

Albertine, Ari, Tessa Pollit
The Slits, New York City, 1980 or 2980 or 980
Photo Courtesy John Harp's Audiophile Reference Site
Photo credit: Fran Pelzman / Ebet Roberts Posted by Hello

Ari-Up is perhaps the biggest revelation -- "Newtown" and "Soar with It" and some other cuts suggests that a certain Icelandic young lady was out in the audience taking notes. "Newtown" is my favorite cut. We can also hear what would become an eventual morph into Dub/Reggae ("A Little Pig Cry", "Fade Away") starting here. "Typical Girls" was, I think, their try at a single and is different enough from the other cuts, starting with a sorta VU groove and then that poppy riff that was so typical of the '80s (get it?) - the studio version is on their recently released "Cut" (best price found at Forced Exposure - link on the right). I'm not in love with all the cuts -- some have a tendency to, ah, wander around (I think they call it noodling in the University). Some of the in-between song patter is unintentionally funny - I'll have to make a sample of it sometime.

The Where Are They Now Part: - Ms. Up appears with her own NYC band - check out that hair, she hasn't cut it since 1980. She played at Morrissey's Meltdown, rumors that there was going to be a more substantial Slits' reunion didn't come to pass. Here's one review that said her performance was "exuberant" (somehow I'm not surprised) but disappointing that she was relegated to a foyer. Viv Albertine is a film-maker, although she hasn't worked since 1992 - her last film starred a pre-Titantic Kate Beckinsdale and Chris Eccleston (available nowhere). Tessa Pollitt is still around and doing interviews at least. Palmolive, who was long gone by the time this one came out left music to go to India and find God -- she's now an evangelical Christian in Massachusetts - she was to play at the Cobain-inspired Raincoats reunion (but he shot himself instead) and still plays "FM" with her husband but they've changed the lyrics to be about Jesus Christ - a horrid-sounding version is available here as well as a 2002 interview with her that says McClaren wasn't their manager because she didn't want anything to do with him... huh... that's not what I read, but okay.

The Samples:

Newtown (edit) - I removed about 15 seconds of drums in the beginning that had a weird sort of interference
Typical Girls

For a band with relatively little "legitimate" output, they've inspired a pretty rabid and wide fan base as google and alltheweb searches attest. Here's just a few that I found:

The Slits - concise history of the band - did you know that the founding members got together after Sid Vicious kicked them out of his first band?
Typical Girls Online (Unofficial Band Website) - good resource, lyrics, discographies, etc.
The Slits - a Punk Band Page
A Brief History of the Slits
Animal Space - and it just goes on and on....

The Washington Post Strikes Again... and M&M in the Press

Yeah, so, this is something that rolls my cannon and makes me wanna shoot fireballs across town at the "paper of record"... I'm by no means a Cure fan. I like some of their songs and some stuff I have heard from their new record sounds okay and as a whole the author hasn't done a bad job describing the concert.

It's just that when a writer takes it upon himself to insult the audience like this in a major publication:
And when he moped, "I want to change!" on "A Night Like This," a mopefest broke out from in front of the stage to the back of the amphitheater's lawn. But, really now, who among them really wants change?
and this:
The plea for change wasn't the night's only dishonest utterance. "Alt.end" found Smith singing that he was going away, a threat he's issued repeatedly over the band's history. "I want this to be the end!" Smith whined. And the fans whined the line right back, with feeling. But chances are good that neither could pass a lie detector test.
OK, would you do a review of an art exhibition and spend part of your time insulting the audience? Would you go to a play and write about the fact that alot of people were in khakis? The point is that Cure fans aren't illiterate - they read papers and if "old media" is going want to survive when there are so many alternatives to getting information, is it really a good idea to make fun of the fans?

Now let's talk about something good from the newspapers.

A Musical Blogger is about our very own Blogroll friend over at Mystery and Misery - and he mentions little ol' Vinyl Mine to boot. Well, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy although I wish there might have been a little more discussion about Fair Use (see link on the side if you're new to this and make up your own mind what constitutes legal use of copyrighted material).

So, now we're big in the home of Colorblind James and the home of Brother Cane!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Additions to the Blogroll

In case you haven't noticed, I've added some new links to the right:

Under some blogs, I've added:
  • Tofu Hut - Innovative and wide-ranging and often delightfully obscure...

  • Gramophone - Popular but on a brief hiatus while the author recovers from an accident...

  • Idiot's Guide - Actually, an Idiot's Guide to Dreaming is the full name - covers alot from the same timeframe but totally different and interesting stuff...

  • Victorian Child - Very active lately - lots of offbeat pop and new stuff reviewed - has an English sense of humor...

  • Lost Bands (of the New Wave Era) - Great bands that were eaten up by the Machine or just plain disappeared begin their comeback here, one MP3 at a time...

  • Something I Learned - Enthusiastic coverage of obscurities from the same 1980-90's indie icons worshipped here...

  • Never Came Home - I wish they would come back home, no posts since mid-July...

Under some others, I've added:
  • Red Envelopes (or Moving Pictures)- My humble emerging attempt to capture thoughts on movies and TV - focus on "serious flicks" and trashy stuff... mostly writing for the fun of it and to gain greater understanding of the art in my life. The name is an homage, if such a thing is possible, to Netflix.
  • Phoood - A blog about, well, American junk food.

And finally, under some yokels, I've added:
  • MetroMap - A neato application that maps DC-based blogs by subway station (I'm at Foggy Bottom). You can also find out where wonkette's office is - woo-hoo - more importantly, where the Sal Gabor Project is.
  • DC Food - My other other journal, which is only somewhat about DC food. Mostly I cover wine, beer, cigars, junk food and the occasional restaurant review and some odds and ends. Usually stuff I like but occasionally, I'll use it to rant over a bad experience.

Tom Waits (Covers) With Your Coffee and Cigarettes (or Cigar stubs in my case)
(a "legal" MP3 mix)

Ol' 55 - this is live from Osan, Korea and covered by Jason Rossi, an acoustic guitarist-songwriter-singer-skater who has released several CDs and has put all of it up on his website

Way Down in the Hole - from one of St. Petersburg's most popular bands, Billy's Band. If you're from St. Pete's and haven't heard from them that's because they're from St. Petersburg, RUSSIA. This song is also known as the the opening to the TV show The Wire. (Note: I believe this is a "legal" site - caveat auditor).

Downtown Train - although you might prefer Everything But the Girl's version, this one takes its cues from Mary Chapin Carpenter. Clelia Adams is a a Tamworth based singer with an interesting story to tell

Ruby's Arms - doveman is Thomas Bartlett, "sometime" member of Elysian Fields and salon.com's music critic. Although this is just him on piano, doveman is a band (more like a minor supergroup) that plays "quiet music" about girls. perhaps the most contemporary artist in this bunch(and best designed website) ..., they have a 13 Aug playdate in NYC.

Rain Dogs - given that even Waits' version sounds Russian and they did such a good job with "Down in the Hole", it's only appropriate that Billy's Band (link above) take this on as an encore in our mix. Their site (linked above) has other downloads including a white Russian rap version of Stagger Lee and some other Tom Waits related fun.

Chocolate Jesus - This comes from a Baltimore-based quartet Jericho's Bridge that remind me of Jorma and Co. with full harmonies on the vocals. Some nice laid back picking here. Shoegazers might find their bluegrassy version of Ghost in You (go to their MP3 page) interesting. Their recording is a little amateur though, so you may have to "post-process" it to deal with the slight over-modulation in the lead vocals.

UPDATE: Here's Billy's Band official site and MP3 page - so I'm not sure if the other site is "sanctioned" but given that they are very generous with the MP3 offerings, I'm sure they won't mind a little publicity. Go buy their CDs!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Mission of Burma (minus 1) rarity at Portland writer's Douglas Wolk's v. fine and sorta legal Lacunae.

Douglas presents the b-side to a 1994 Clint Conley-Roger Miller ("Kuchkah Tay Zod") one-off collab entitled Wrong Pipe. It's reminiscent of Miller's other experiments with language - "Jabberwocky", "Kaglastak" except with Conley playing and singing along... Get it here.

Hat tip to Salon's Wednesday Morning Download (after the 15th time trying to watch their "day pass" movie)...
Rick James MP3 Tribute Mix

Hanging out on corners
Singin' with the fellas
Lookin' for the cute chicks
Trying to find a bit of fun
Looking for some trouble
Or anyone who'll give me some

-- Ghetto Life

First Rick James album I listened to was also my first real funk album -- Street Songs, 1982, and like any good music, I didn't come looking for it... actually I came looking for something else. I first saw Street Songs on a upended crate in the dorm room of the wildest girl on campus. She had a mound of pot piled on top of the album cover, the black lights and tie-died sheets hanging everywhere. And there on the cover was a black guy like I had never seen - big red boots, long hair and that look all of a sudden defined cool in 1982... Here was a funkster and a rocker and a showman and yet still an outlaw. Few artists were out there unabashedly singing about drugs that I remember. And here he's got The Mary Jane girls and singing "Pass the Joint..." Just Say No would come soon thereafter.

"Give It To Me Baby" - talk about a song that would never quit and you never got tired of it even if it lodged inside your brain (we can thank MC Hammer for killing "Superfreak", alas). Yeah, we'd skip over the slow songs or just roll our eyes because we were too blasted to get up. But "Ghetto Life", "Below the Funk", "Call Me Up" - what more can you ask for? I explored her record collection and became school friends, you know, nothing forever but companions, fellow freaks, if you will - not a term we used, though - we called ourselves and our friends GDIs - Gamma Delta Independents. There would be a party somewhere each weekend and something stupid will happen or somebody would introduce some new controlled substance. Among our core, a secret handshake was seeing each other walking down the street and all of a sudden start calling"Yo Momma...That's Right I said Yo Momma" to the befuddlement of all the skinny tie frat boys and Dixie Roadduck loving jocks. We could never to be as cool a dresser as Rick but she bought some vinyl boots and I got some cooler shirts. After that came P-funk, George Clinton, Sugarhill Gang, Prince and we mixed that all in with psyche and The Clash and blues (Bob Margolin) and rockabilly... But it was Rick James who broke my funk cherry. Pass him that joint...

Jungle Boogie - P-Funk (referring page)
Ma Baker - Boney M-Sash (referring page)
Jump Delight - Lil Kim vs. Sugarhill Gang (referring page)
Bustin' Out on Funk - TD (referring page)
Dirty Mind - Jeff Beck (referring page)
Mary Jane - The R.E.D.D. (referring page)
Give It To Me Baby - Funky Brass Factory (referring page)
Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston (referring page)

Rick James - 1948-2004

Official Website
Image courtesy Music Matic

Friday, August 06, 2004

WE interrupt your normally ribald and hedonistic Friday night rituals for the following announcement:

We Are Not the Fall, an international tribute to The Fall is now available online for MP3 download - here. Enjoy.

Best to sample before downloading and keeping as the styles & interpretations are VERY diverse. My recomended checkouts: Jonathan Kandall's version of "I'm Feeling Numb", Where's the Beach's "L.A.", Otalgia's "C.R.E.E.P.", Andy Halper's "Right Place, Wrong Time",

Hat tip: The Fall News webpage (there's more new stuff there)

(not so) Deeeeeeep Thoughts (or there must be something in the Columbia Industrial grind):

If shame lives in the shadow of love, does smug live in the shadow of hate?

Corporate revisionist Dept: From a review this AM of Garden State on MTV - The Shins: A group commonly played on MTV2... Oh yeah. Was that before the Hoobastank video or after the Headbangers Ball? Or maybe it was in the background during Ask Andrew W.K.

Three-word review of Garden State from someone who hasn't seen it yet: I become emo...

I forgot to mention in my review of the Sand Pebbles song yesterday: Velvet Underground...um, there.

Final deeeep thought in the form of an answer:

Answer: No.

Question: Did you ever in your wildest dreams think the first time you heard Zen Arcade that you would be reading Bob Mould kvetching about his waistline issues? Bob, see ya at Whole Foods. We can do low-fat latte.

On further reflection: Eh, maybe. But Grant Hart, never.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I'm gonna do the Mystery and Misery thing tonight and point you towards an online cut I'm currently digging.

Sand Pebbles

If I had an I-Pod, this 2002 cut would be on it - instead its on my current mix CD that goes from my car to work and back again and top of the playlist on my computer juke. I just love these kinds of feet-moving tunes and dig the little psyche sound fx thrown in... Sand Pebbles are an Aussie band that work on the same popular soap opera that produced Kylie (hey, she's cool, shut up, check out some of her earlier videos with Michael Gondry) and Guy Pearce. It's also the name of one of my favorite movies as a kid (I was fascinated with Junks and that scene where the crowd tries to attack John Wayne's boat)

I hear Saints, Stooges but with better more mellow drugs... this is a cover of a Julian Cope cut from 1989 so I guess it even fits in with the theme of this journal, too! I don't have any of their records but I'm sure to pick their latest up on my next shopping trip.

Band's website

Out of My Mind on Dope & Speed

UPDATE: Just found this article on them...

And they may even be responsible for one the most renowned Australian duets in the past 20 years.

"I got shit-faced drunk with Kylie Minogue one night when I was 17 and listened to the Birthday Party," Michael says. "And she liked it. I reckon that's the reason she said yes to Nick Cave and did the duet Where the Wild Roses Grow."

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

"Hickoids?! I gotcher corn right here, bubbas... 'n' stay ways from muh Jenna!"

The Hickoids

We're Only In It For The Corn
Toxic Shock, 1987
(no longer in print)

Actually RECORDED in 1985 and not the best recording or remastering ever.

The Hickoids were a storied* group of guys who took the whole early Meat Puppets idea of combining thrash with country-western and just rode the hobby horse all over the place - covering all aspects of the genre from cowpoke, to honky-tonk, to Elvis-in-Vegas-hell ("Burning Love") to dead-drunk Hank Williams-style ("It's a Beautiful Thang") to even classic TV western themes ("Williamanza" is Lone Ranger's theme combined with Bonanza and played real fast), hillbilly thrash ("Hee Haw").

You're tempted to classify them as a Texas Dead Milkmen but then they come up with some more interesting stuff in "Say So Long" and "Longest Mile" that suggest they weren't just a joke-band. "Desire" sounds like something a more raw, drunken Modest Mouse might've done. And I'll bet its the only Toxic Shock record with a Farfisa Organ ("Longest Mile") and honky-tonk Piano ("Say So Long"). This was some pretty original stuff for 1985 and while they never really went, say, where the Buttholes were going and later Southern Culture on the Skids, it's worth a spin occasionally. I might also add, the fact they became a Austin-San Antonio scene staple (in DC they would have been shunned fer their sinnin' ways) attests to why so cool bands came out of those desert towns (we'll get to one of Scratch Acid some day) during the '80s.

So... Richard Hays diedin 2001 and bein' he was one of the forces behind the group, the sober guy who drove the van and played bass and all the extra keyboard parts (that's him banging away behind "Say So Long") and knew how to read music (played French Horn in the local symphony!) ya'd think they'd break up... but hell it's too much fun and no doubt he would've wanted 'em to stay together.... so far as I can tell.... Davy Jones and Jeff Smith are still kicking around Austin and played as the Hickoids as late as 2002 for the Hole in the Wall closing month (since re-opened).

*There's alot of Hickoid stories including one that Gibby tells about how they once crashed at a girls house and mistook her stereo for a toilet but I'd swear that this Hickoids story tops 'em all:
A guy I work with told me that this is his favorite Austin band. They hadn't played in a long while, so we went. It was a benefit for one of the members, whose house had burnt down. He didn't show up. The band still played, and they were very much the kind of old-school Austin band I expected. Drunk & strange. They played the gamut: country punk to punk to sing-a-longs. I read the next week in the Chronicle that the guest of honor didn't show since he was pulled over about 2 blocks away for drunk driving. It said the proceeds from the show wound up going to bail the guy out.
(from Greg Bolsinga's massive show diary website)

This record is VG+

Say So Long