Friday, December 30, 2011


Thursday, December 8, 2011

PTA Music Video

Brothers, have you seen such splendor?
At once, this seems just another mood-drifting cover of the Lennon tune. But the video is a marvelous heaven, a spectacle of grace. It sucks you in, and then of course you remember just great the song really is and of course, Fiona Apple is a peach. It was all assembled by Paul Thomas Anderson, the Master maker of fine images. It translates beautifully to music videos. Just beautifully

Monday, November 28, 2011

Brian Eno - Another Green World (1975)

Most have heard this soundtrack-esque art pop masterpiece, so this post is a recommendation for those who haven't or those who wish to revisit it.
"Desert guitars" and a combination of organ and piano create a stunning, solemn landscape here, only interrupted by the focused pop songs of "Sky Saw" and "I'll Come Running".  Not feeling out of place, these tracks contribute to the arresting nature of the album with slick Eno/Bowie production.  The album invites deep, personal reflection in the way most successful soundtracks do, as each movement seemingly connects with feelings forgotten.  Brian Eno is an ideas man and this album is a truly magnificent example of his ideas realized.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Broadcast - The Noise Made By People (2000)

      I've never been able to nail down exactly why, but I tend to have a very polarized opinion in regards to vocalists, especially female vocalists. Broadcast, in my opinion, had one of the best female vocalists around, Trish Keenan. She had a mesmerizing, almost seductive, voice that seems to belong with the jazz vocalists. She doesn't get caught up in the frustrating overuse of vibrato and delivers crisp and piercing, yet simple, melodies over the ominous music of the band.

     The album begins with an eerie synth wavering in the foreground and the siren's voice becons to the listener,  "will you stay, now you're here," you want to stay, you want to keep listening. Much of the album bears the burden of the minor key with screeches from strings and synths which at many times are very uncomfortable. Such a juxtaposition with the comforting voice leaves the listener questioning whether or not to trust her. "Come on let's go," she pleads. It's in the comments if you need a taste.

Here's the fourth track on the album,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Built around Atomic Forest's title track, "Obsession '77", from the 1981 lost treasure of Indian psychedelic rock whose vinyl rarity sells for thousands of dollars today (not that it should have anything to do with the album's actual quality), Mike Davis's psychedelic compilation brings to light an impressive collection of super-rare tracks.  The album displays music from all across the world spanning from the early-60s to mid-70s, bringing together a nice collage of different native instrumentation of psych rock. If you are like me and rarely fall off the well-worn path of Western psych rock, or if you can't decide if you like face-melting guitar solos more with native Argentenian drums or Turkish folk music, this one will most likely rattle those sneakers pretty hard.  Every track on here is a monster; I'd wager that never has so much fuzz been unleashed in one package. Come catch it in the comments, and leave one while you are at it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Katrina Relief from The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

As everyone's aware of, 2005 brought the highest costing natural disaster in America's history with the Atlantic's Hurricane Katrina.  It claimed nearly 2,000 lives and turned a historic coastline to rumble.  With the government's untimely response and an unfathomable need for reconstruction, the nation, and city of New Orleans in particle, were left to criticize heavily, dwelling in a torn state of sadness and unifying hope.
As the victims looked into the ruins, the question of "What's Going On!?" must have come to the front of New Orleans' collective consciousness more than a few times.  It was this state of mind that brought Nawleans own Dirty Dozen Brass Band to aid.  The fiery brass funk group made a decision in 2006 to rework Marvin Gaye's classic, What's Going On? to both remind citizens' of their unified feelings of outrage, sadness, and hope, and to raise money for Katrina relief in the album's sales.  I've only played through it once thus far but it's right on!
The cover album stays relatively true to the original, maintaining the original track list and general soulful vibes, held down lyrically by a diverse cast from Guru and Chuck D to Bettye Lavette and G. Love.  However,  the heavy brass makes it pop like I couldn't have prepared myself for.  Chuck D opens the album dropping crisp lines to the album's title track.  He's in top form for this song.  Lavette has had quite a bit of notoriety doing covers these past few years, and she strikes gold on "What's Happening Brother", one of my favorite reworks on the album.  G. Love sort of struggled to find his voice in the context of "Mercy Mercy Me" but I suppose he still held up better than I expected him to.  A bold choice though for sure.  My favorite track on this disc has to be the cover of "Right On".  Dirty Dozen Brass Band truly has a knack for keeping true to the soul of a song while still tearing it apart and making it their own musically.  Guru closes out the album with "Inner City Blues".  I'm not incredibly familiar with Marvin's version of this song, and didn't pay much attention to Guru's rhymes, but his voice sounds great over the brass and he's always providing prophetic closing words to his many projects (RIP).  
Check it out here to support the cause.
Also I tossed the link in the comments if you want a run-thru before purchase or just don't have much cash.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No Trend - Tritonian Nash Vegas Polyester Complex (1987)

No Trend pissed people off. They pissed everybody off, even the sharp dressed punks who acted like all-time bad-asses, but in reality spent time in their rooms letting the mirror decide just how punk and black and sharp they really looked. No Trend played their name. They saw through how punk was in itself a trend, despite the very trend being "we're against trend". No Trend was as nihilistic as it gets, a harsh truth, they were really Against The Grain. When punk was amidst its Straight Edge fling, No Trend says "Mass Sterilization Caused By Venereal Disease".

The music is gold, too--loud lounge jazz, horns blazing perhaps, rock 'n roll, noir punk, and poetically cringing lyrics in which no matter who you are, you will find yourself in the cross-fire of their finger-points. And that was their deal I guess, their intention was a freak show, to say screw 'em to everybody.

Here's a video of their Big Hit "Teen Love", in which two plastic-eyed, algebra class lovers meet their end in a fatal car wreck. What a song. and grab Tritonian Nash Vegas Polyester Complex in the comments.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez -Telesterion (2011)

Supreme dictator of the unknown and steam-powered musical engine Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is "at it again" with what feels like his 30 or 40th studio release, Telesterion.  If you couldn't keep up with last year's 10 new albums like me, don't panic, as Telesterion is a much-needed compilation of 38 tracks spanning all across Omar's solo projects.  Over the course of his life, Omar has dabbled in all kinds of genres, nomadically discarding the musical approach taken in each previous album and playing with many different musicians, all the while retaining his signature melodic dissonance and unpredictability on guitar.  The dynamic of the album can seem a little weird at times, with jumps from heavy rock with spanish vocals to laid-back instrumental funk with real sexy saxophone work. Keep an ear open for the drums too, reigning great work from avant-garde powerhouses Deantoni Parks and Thomas Pridgen. Grab it down in the comments.

Friday, October 28, 2011 a baby's bottom: Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic

Just recently made the switch to vinyl! And the blog's back in session. Ya! So I'll be throwing up a few oldies records I've recently been throwing around.
Steely Dan are one of the pen-ultimate bands to collect on vinyl.  Rarely is something this smooth, with slick production and tight instrumentation, also capable of maintaining a cool factor.  Rock fusion groups like Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra, maybe, but....they're jazz fusion.  
The album is Dan's prime example of the marriage between studio professionalism and Fagen's vicious lyrics. The low to-the-ground funk of "Monkey In Your Soul" and tight jam on the self-titled track show the band sounding off like an actual rock "band" for the last time, as beyond this album Steely Dan became two dudes and a bunch of session musicians. This album deserves a more thorough review but I'm heading out to get a costume.  Enjoy your junk food.

"When the demon is at your door, in the morning he won't be there no more.  Any major dude will tell you..."
Wilco try to pay homage here, fairly successfully..

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum/ Outisdeinside

Thought I might open up this old shop again with a goody bag from Blue Cheer: their debut from '68 Vencebus Eruptum and the follow-up Outsideinside released later that year. A Hard Rock Trio.

Watch the video below of them playing what-might-be-the-best-song-of-all-time "Summertime Blues". They have the first heavy metal drummer in rock 'n roll, just look at his hair and the way he slackly bangs at the drums. No one is cooler than Blue Cheer.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hope You're Having a Good Summer

Hey everyone looks like we've slowed down to practically a total halt during these summer days. So whether you're outside enjoying the humidity or inside blasting the AC and listening to tunes, hopefully you haven't noticed and/or can forgive our apparent lethargy. Anyway, here are some swell tunes from guitarist John Fahey to help you through these tryin' heartland afternoons. Sorry I couldn't find a live version of "St. Louis Blues," for you, but nonetheless, enjoy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Muddy Waters : Electric Mud (1968)

Muddy Waters purists love to hate this album. Released in '78, Electric Mud was recorded as his record company's attempt to capitalize on the hippies idolatry for Muddy Waters near the end of the seventies. You'll hear a wah wah pedal and fuzzbox combo all over this album, laying down a psychedelic production style on classic 50's Waters tunes. It's an incredibly goofy idea and I'm sure Muddy was ticked with his management for putting him in the session and for putting it out under his name, but it totally works. It rips. The b side re-working of "Mannish Boy" is wild and his cover of "Let's Spend the Night Together" is vicious. His backing band (Rotary connection) is tight throughout the release and complicates Waters' style in a unique way. You could argue it's a gimmick, and I'm sure most music fans with a strong sense of history and authenticity will bag on it, but this meeting point between psychedelia and traditional blues jams is a gem in my eyes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Sometimes you got to thank a video camera for coming out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thurston Moore - Demolished Thoughts (2011)

The repeated phrases of "without shame, without shame" on "Mina Loy" (track 7) perfectly articulate the feelings of critical defiance and courageous self-redefinition that are present in Thurston's new solo album. Because maybe it's just the addition of the lazy, sweeping strings in the background, or perhaps the subdued and subtle guitar work, but with Demolished Thoughts, it finally appears as though Moore has made a name for himself as a singer/songwriter outside the often inescapably realms of Sonic Youth and his dozens of other projects. There's still the characteristic Thurston to be found in the album, but the go-to techniques that he's been imploring for years seem to have reached full maturation, and have blended together on this 100% acoustic album in a unique way to create a wholly original and uniquely charming release.

There's certainly stereotypical Thurston in the album. "Circulation" begins a bit of all too recognizable quick-wristed, loose, punky guitar work that's come to define the Lee/Moore guitar dichotomy over the years. There's also prime examples of the all-too-cryptic lyrics that he's been known for over the years with stand-alone lines like "Wet and drunken desire, dripping tears" in the track "Orchard Street." And as with almost every true Sonic Youth composition, there's some (although here, subdued) squeaky, shrill guitar buildups that happen after a couple of verses.

But there's a lot of new techniques that Moore implores on this album that make it fresh exciting for any Sonic Youth fan to listen to. As mentioned before, the presence of really soft and pure string in every track is a welcomed addition to the instrumental core that takes some pressure off the guitar while providing some rhythmic value. Also, without mucking up the melody, some slick production from Beck adds an elusive stand-up bass to the background of the album. It's pretty subtle, but it allows the album to maintain depth without obscuring or burdening the melodies. Oh, and did I mention that there's a prevalent lack of percussion? That's right, the man's made a living of banging, crashing, and exploding sounds and there's only a few drum tracks on this album. And for some reason, it makes sense. If there were a little snare and cymbal in the background on every track, it wouldn't sound bad, but it would add a weird sense of urgency to an album that really has nothing to prove. The usually loud Thurston Moore impatient and in-your-face sonic suggestions of "what if?" and "why not?" are replaced by languid expressions of perfect musical content. Instead of the usual punk call to arms, the album's expressions are far more introverted and less enigmatic. And maybe that's what separates it from even his previous acoustic release, Trees Outside the Academy. Certainly the two albums are technically similar, but on Demolished Thoughts there is even less of a sense of responsibility and continuity. Thurston has finally, quite totally, removed himself from the lifelong cliches that critics have been firing at him. This album seeks not to be "innovative," "cutting-edge," "chaotic," or "noisy" or any of the pigeon-holed tags that writers insist on pushing on Moore, but stands as a deep sigh of rebellious accomplishment.

Demolished Thoughts is a gorgeous album that any musician could be proud of making, but I'm especially happy to see probably one of my favorite guitarist of all time, who has been so predictably unpredictable, finally make a solo album that is totally unpredictably predictable.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, and Dan Bennink - The Topography of the Lungs (1970)

The words "free improvisation" inspire an elusive curiosity in some, while encouraging distrusting and annoyed grimaces from many others in the music community. Having roots in both free jazz and modern classical composition structure, the "genre" (or maybe, "set of techniques") seemingly continues where the modal jazz left off, that is trading even more harmony in for atonal structure. The movement values not so much the relationship between pitches and rhythms, but individual textures themselves.

Parker, Bailey, and Bennink's 1970 release on Incus records (the label's first) stands today as the most relevant and quintessential artifact of true, free improvisation. It's seemingly endless labyrinth of cymbal taps, guitar tappings, and saxophone buzzes provide an enigmatic map for listeners to follow, while struggling to find their way through the chaos. Evan Parker's solo work (which both mirrored American avant-garde pioneers such as Coltrane, while making them more abrasive), Derek Bailey's radical departure from traditional guitar technique, and Bennink's absurdist take on jazz percussion all culminate to create a monolithically landmark album. It can be challenging to listen to at first because it's object is to contain as little recognizable material/techniques as possible, but that doesn't mean it's unlistenable or unrewarding. Listen to it like your would a jazz album, and your mind will fill in the dots where the musicians suggest connections. It's extremely fidgety, disjointed, and unsettling at times, but once you get into the mode of listening to it, it'll challenge previous truths you held about rhythm, harmony, and song structure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

RIP Tim Taylor

On this day in 1997, Tim Taylor, frontman of the Dayton, Ohio punk band Brainiac died suddenly and tragically in a car crash. Brainiac (or 3RA1N1AC) were known primarily for their incredibly raucous live shows and their masterwork sophomore LP Bonsai Superstar. Here's my personal favorite track off the album "Radio Apeshot." Link to full album in comments. Never forget the fallen punks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Original Texas Groover: Doug Sahm :: Groover's Paradise (1974)

This post is dedicated to my Texan pal Zach Jones, who, like Doug Sahm, has always been playfully aware of the stigmas that people hold against Texas, but through playful admonishment and sincere pride always tends to turn these stereotypes around and instead represent Texas as a place of strong convictions, values, and fun.

It is this sort of self-awareness that Doug Sahm uses to his advantage in all of his running work, especially in this 1974 release, Groover's Paradise. Sahm plays on your typical western topics, especially in tunes like "Houston Chicks" and "Beautiful Texas Sunshine", but never drags them out to the cheesy extent that most modern country stars do, essentially providing the stigma to most music fans that country music is a genre of gimmicks lacking any substance. No, Doug Sahm does quite the opposite. He plays with the cards of his aforementioned state, but in a way that makes them real, even at sometimes tender.

A part of the success of Sahm's work certainly revolves around his ability to blow the doors down in any genre arena he attempts. People call his style "Tex-mex", but I'd understand that as being a term used because they have no idea how in the hell to briefly classify his style otherwise. So props to the original Texas groover for that. The album opens appropriately with the self-titled track, "Groover's Paradise", which exemplifies the jangly influence the members Doug Clifford and Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival left on Sahm with their studio involvement on this record. These guys allowed for a coherent sounding band, having a great time, unlike the feel of his first solo record, Doug Sahm and Band, which sounds like Doug Sahm just messing around with a bunch of hired guns. This opening track is the anthem and single that sets the theme for the whole album: being a groovin' stoner in Texas is an incredible time, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The second track, "Devil Heart" continues to throw listeners for a loop, with a chugging riff, almost Allman Brothers-esque, that never really builds up beyond a feel-good chorus, which is fine and dandy with me. It's hypnotic and shows that with CCR's rhythm section, Sahm can lay down a really bluesy cut. Following this blues is "Houston Chicks", a sweet autobiographical love song paying homage to the lovely ladies he's made memories with in Houston.

"For The Sake of Rock n Roll" is the kind of song that got me initially interested in Doug Sahm. Lyrics that would at first come off as tongue-in-cheek become genuine once you realize how seriously Sahm valued Rock n roll in his life, almost to the point where he'd sacrifice anything to uphold the joys of the lifestyle. "Just Groove Me" plays out in a similar manner, as Sahm offers that he'll "love you to the sky" if you'll just groove him. He doesn't ask for much here people!

Good lord, "Girls Today (Don't Like To Sleep Alone)" might be one of the most style-defining songs Sahm's ever released. I cannot help but smile as Sahm sings this most socially incorrect song, it's sung too sincerely to get angry with, and so naturally I just take his side on it. He croons, "So if you got someone who loves you, go ahead and try to be yourself," a lyric that is so harshly honest to the situation a sheepish male may find himself in.

As I said before, part of Sahm's success lies in that he can look toward his roots with pride, and with a cover of the Mexican standard "La Cacahuata", meaning "the peanut", he shows that he can in so goofy a manner that it actually works perfectly for the album. I've always had a personal nostalgic relationship with this song as well because it sounds identically like this crummy instrumental tune that came on daily when Will and I spent a month down in Central America.

The album ends with what I believe is the greatest country song ever written, "Catch Me In the Morning". Beginning in a hard place, Sahm tells us "the keg was hard on his head last night" and that he naturally said some things that he now regrets. He's speaking of the problems that every cowboy's gotta deal with, but with the driving chorus chant of "Catch Me In the Morning", it is all about the hope that rests in the light of the morning after. The very un-country driving chord changes that take the slow-groovin' verse for such a wild spin make this the perfect album closer. He's made mistakes, but he looks at the future as a place for forgiveness and redemption. He doesn't seem to ever learn from the hardships that befall a groovin' Texas cowboy, but the purity he links with the morning after make the good balance out the bad, for such is life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Willie Wright--Telling The Truth ('77)

It's officially summer for this old crippled man. Picked up this great album last week.

Willie Wright is a mostly forgotten soul singer, who croons like a true ladies man, smooth as can be with the softest of instrumentation accompanying him. He belongs on the beach, far from trouble--except the kind in his heart, which comes out beautifully in his voice on every track. He's a little like of that guy in Life Aqautic, who's scattered throughout the movie playing Bowie songs in Portuguese, but you know, interesting. and a lot better.

So as the dog day afternoons of the sultry summer turn to pleasant evenings this June, be sure to turn to Willie Wright for company as you barbecue, smoke cigars and sip on jack and cokes.

I'm especially fond of "Africa", "Right On for the Darkness" and "Nantucket Island". grab it in the comments.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sea Level - Sea Level (1977)

One of things I missed most about St. Louis while away was KDHX, so I've had their programs going nonstop over the past few days. I got a chance to catch one of my absolute favorite programs tonight, Stumble in the Dark, and DJ Mullins tipped me off to this great '77 self-titled release by the group Sea Level.

I'll say that this album isn't for everyone. It hoists up a sort of cheesy production style that drenched the late 70s classic rock. However, like the majority of Donald Fagen's projects or even guilty pleasures in the likes of Boston, this group has some other secret ingredient going for them that actually makes this production style work to their advantage. In this case, it's a weird tad of Allman Brother's (think Blue Sky and Elizabeth Reed sound) that's resonated throughout the album, showing most significantly on the opener, "Rain in Spain". So clean, so tight. A sound that I've just always liked a lot, even though it stands in stark contrast to a great majority of other music I call perfect. I worked so hard to find a link to this album, as I don't think it carried much of a following into the twenty first century, so grab it in the comments.

Monday, May 9, 2011

File Under Boogie Rock: ZZ Top's Tres Hombres

I'm back in St. Louie for summer, and a dude in heat's gotta put on some blues drenched rockers from ZZ Top's best, Tres Hombres. I used to give them a lot of crap, and I still think they have one of the silliest images in rock n' roll. However, I don't really care anymore. There's a fine line between seeing this album as boring and seeing it as one of the most perfect sounds of the seventies. Either way, try to throw out your prior conceptions towards ZZ Top and give this album a try on a day filled with sweating bullets.

Bardo Pond--Amanita

It's mid May. Being a college student, that means exams. I need something to sustain me. For awhile at least, through this long drone of studying. Until I can turn on and turn up Sweetheart of the Rodeo or Paris 1919 at the week's end. And Spacemen 3 has run their course. Here's Bardo Pond's Amanita from 1996. Lot of noise, but it still rocks. Kinda shoe-gazey at times or post-rock or whatever the hell people call this kind of music. Usually I think it's kinda stupid, but this hit the nail for me. Check it out in comments

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Rock-o'-Lution Hodgepodge


Then this:

And this:

Then this:

Look Over There

Readers of Old Crippled Men,
If you've enjoyed some of the tunes that we've written about on this blog, check out our friend Dan's blog, Cinderblock Tornado. It just got going a little bit ago, but it's already ripe with some great psychedelia, math rock, and pop.

Follow it here.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dream/Aktion Unit - Blood Shadow Rampage (2006)

One of the things that I really love about the improv/noise/jazz scene of the 21st Century, is that since most musicians have a very similar understanding of rhythm ad sound, they have taken many opportunities to make collaborative efforts with fellow noisemakers. While little known due because they've only released one and never had a proper tour, I present to you perhaps the most incredible super-lineup that I've ever heard of in modern music: Dream/Aktion Unit. Consisting of (to name a few notables) drummer Chris Corsano (of the psychedelic Flowers-Corsano du0), guitarist Thurston Moore, guitarist Jim O'Rourke, and saxophonist Paul Flaherty, the band caught my attention at first for no other reason than its novelty as one of my favorite line-ups ever. If you know any of their individual works, its pretty much a combination of what you'd expect. Thurston contributes eerie ticks and scratches of guitar, O'Rourke adds the beef, cymbal-heavy Corsano pounds away in a flood, and Flaherty adds Mats Gustafsson-like sax squeals. If you don't really like this kinda stuff, I understand why you might think it can be obnoxious or silly sometimes, but I really dig and I think you can learn a lot about music by listening to composers like these folks. Link in comments.

The High Llamas - Talahomi Way (2011)

Here's a gem released just a couple of weeks ago by Drag City. The brainchild of Irish guitarist Sean O'Hagan, this charming work is heavy with British folk influences, some electronics, and intriguing Bossa Nova-esque chord arrangements. It's a simple, lounge-y beauty that should be enjoyed while walking around (hopefully in some beautiful May weather) and peering at the curiosities of strangers. While its not the most engrossingly complex or subtle album out there (it only takes a few listens to "get it"), I think it'll give your day a little comforting color. "Take My Hand," and "Fly Baby Fly" are a few personal favorites. Link in comments.

Fucked Up Coming to St. Louis

I don't know if any of you will be excited as I am to hear this news, but Canadian hardcore revivalists Fucked Up will be gracing the Firebird stage on July 1st in St. Louis, Missouri. Me and Minnick saw 'em a couple years ago and they put on a good show.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (2011)

My first encounter with Fleet Foxes was in the Spring of my sophomore year of high school, purchasing their self-titled release at Euclid Records in St. Louis on a whim purely based on the colorful, baroque album art that I hadn't seen done in a long while. Like most scenesters at the time I wore the hell out of that album, and it to some degree became the soundtrack of that late spring.

Oddly enough, it was the baroque chamber pop sound and nostalgic, natural lyrics that I was initially drawn to that eventually turned me off the band. They could write a damn good harmony and produce a consistently catchy album, but it just wasn't personal. It gave me a good feeling, but didn't have the substance in the background to support it. I'm quite happy to say the new album has pushed past this problem significantly.

Helplessness Blues is the most self-reflective work I've heard from Pecknold. It reaches into his struggle creating a follow-up sophomore album and chronicles his life falling apart in pursuit of truly being heard. The church reverbs are still there, as are the old-timey production, and heavenly harmonies resonant of the first album. However, whereas the the first album sung primarily of strawberries, swallows, and summertime, the new album cuts into human nature and has something to actually tell the listener. "Montezuma", "Battery Kinzie", "Someone You'd Admire", and "Grown Ocean" are notable first favorites, and "Helplessness Blues" might be one of my favorite tracks of the whole year. I've only gone through the album a few times so far, so more words will be deserved later, but for now I'd just reccomend grabbing it in the comments and running by your record store today if it strikes your fancy. Even if you burnt yourself out on the Foxes a ways back, like I did, be sure to give this one a chance.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Spring Smoothie for You

Here's a playlist that I've been listening to while walking around or stuff. Don't really know what else to say but enjoy I suppose. Link is in comments.

1. Lemmon Jelly - "Space Walk"

2. John Cale & Terry Riley - "The Soul of Patrick Lee"

3. Can - "I'm So Green"

4. Mogwai - "Acid Food"

5. Jim O'Rourke - "All Downhill From Here"

6. The Soft Boys - "Human Music"

7. Sebadoh - "Skull"

8. Stereolab - "Metronomic Underground"

9. Thee Oh Sees - "The Coconut"

10. The Books - "All You Need Is a Wall"

11. Amps for Christ - "Edward"

12. Moon Duo - "Fallout"

13. Sleater-Kinney - "The Swimmer"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scott Walker-The Drift (2006)

The first time I heard Scott Walker, I did a classic double take. It was Scott 2 and the song was that great and hilarious opener "Jackie". Here was this guy I'd heard so many people cream their pants over, singing like a maudlin David Bowie over a track of an enormously produced arrangement of fully orchestrated strings, horns and pounding drums. I was immediately taken to the streets of Paris, where I was buying a hot dog from a vendor with too much mustard on it, sharing it with a cute European girl, the Eiffel Tower peaking behind our heads. It remains one of the best listening memories I've ever had. "Jackie"is as sentimental to me as Scott's soaring voice.

Then I checked out The Drift, released in 2006. Holy shit. What had happened to this guy in between 1968 and 2006? Where was the sap, the love, the warmth? The opening chords of "Cossacks Are" are dark as hell, and with lyrics like "Touching shattered lives, it unearths a nocturne filled with glorious ideas/ A chilling exploration of erotic consumption", the song gets darker. And through ten tracks, it never gets any brighter. Notorious for his self-secrecy, the recluse himself had taken nearly 11 years between this and his previous release.

It took a matter of bravery to record the way he did in the late 60's. In a time where turning up the amps was hip for youth, Scott sang with perfect swank and schmaltz over sappy orchestras. Thats for old people, how square. And The Drift is nothing if not as brave as he's ever been. Then again, Scott Walker has always made his career out of writing what he wants to write and recording the way he wants to record. and of course, never doing interviews or photo-ops. grab The Drift in the comments, but make sure to collect his late 60's albums, too. fucking beautiful, if you dig it.

Funk-up Supreme: The John Tropea

John Tropea's 1977 funk jams off Short Trip To Space are so perfectly filling my rainy day in Chicago. The bass line on "The funk you see, is the funk you do" is just making me cringe it's so dirty. And "Can't hide love" might be the sleekest-sexy disco influenced funk track I've heard all year. If it's a downer day, snag this smooth funk release and groove the rest of it away.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Rainy Monday

Yowie - Cryptooology (2007)

Yowie is a hardcore/avant-rock trio from our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. The band is known for creating extremely visceral and "kung fu" compositions, usually achieved by using Beefheart-esque tunings, speeding up the time signature, and adding totally maniac drum textures. Today I'm presenting their debut LP, Cryptooology, which was released on Skin Graft records in 2007. If ya don't know about Skin Graft, check out there band page here. They've always had a really, really solid lineup which currently includes AIDS Wolf, Dazzling Killmen (another famous St. Louis avant-punk act), Melt-Banana(!), and Brise-Glace (O'Rourke+parts of Dazzling Killmen). Link in comments.

Also, don't miss their next live show on June 11 at the schizoid art/performance/junk hub Cranky Yellow on Cherokee.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Punch Brothers cover Gronlandic Edit

Well arranged, well executed, as always from Chris Thile.
Gronlandic Edit (of Montreal cover)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wild Flag - Live at The High Dive 11/12/2010

After Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss (formerly of Sleater-Kinney), Mary Timony (formerly of Helium), and Rebecca Cole (The Minders) announced their reunion for a project called Wild Flag last year, I was skeptical. Brownstein has kind of been a personal hero for a long time, and Janet Weiss is probably the best live drummer I've ever seen, but I was kind of bothered that all the headlines about the project would have you believe that it's the "first female supergroup...ever." Ever? Really? Personally, I consider the Breeders' (even though there are two men in the band) Kim Deal/Tanya Donelly/Cheryl Lyndsey lineup a "supergroup." And what about Free Kitten? How could you not a band consisting of members of Sonic Youth (Kim), Pussy Galore (Julie Cafritz), and the Boredomes (Yoshimi P-We), that is all female, not be a "female supergroup?" I mean they even had more star power than Wild Flag.

I think the answer that I'm looking for has to do with fans' long desire for a Sleater-Kinney reunion. Wild Flag is a band that received a lot of media coverage (playing at SXSW and having a member of your band write for NPR doesn't hurt) really fast without even releasing a full-length. Also, I found it really disappointing that writers focused so much on the Brownstein/Weiss reunion (which I don't mean to downplay, I've always been a huge S-K fan), without spending music time on the fact that Mary Timony is rocking again. Her band Helium was a really really kick-ass 90s act (if appearing on Bevis and Butthead means anything), and from that half-dozen videos I've seen of her playing, she's still got the snotty drawl and can still shred.

But never mind all that critic jumblage. I offer you today a gem of a live show. This was the band's third ever live show, recording at the High Dive (Portland) on November 12 of last year. It's real swell quality, so the guitar duet and the Janet's pounding toms just powerful as shit. If that's not enough to get you to download it, there's also a "Beast of Burden" and a Patti Smith staple "Ask The Angels." Pure nuggetology in the comments.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Delta Spirit covers Tom Waits. schweet

This week Delta Spirit covered 4 Tom Waits songs for their Daytrotter session. Of course it's a pretty obvious pick for their gravel voiced lead singer to take on Waits, and he does so endearingly.
I'm such a sucker for a good ballad.

"Come On Up To The House"
"Innocent When You Dream"
"San Diego Serenade"
"Tango Till They're Sore"

DOwnload em for free mang

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Redd Kross - Phaseshifter (1993)

Though their debut LP Born Innocent (1982) placed Redd Kross amongst other pop-punk contemporaries (the Viletones, the Warm Jets...), by the time their fifth album, Phaseshifter, came out, it was hard to tell what the band's sound had mutated into. Sure, the album still contains many aspects that would warrant it being called a punk record, but at the same time its damn melodic and jangly, vaguely bluesy, and towards the end, really influenced by hair metal.

So did they fail at hardcore or simply adapt to the college radio pop sphere that was ruling the alternative universe of the late 80s and early 90s? And did they adapt, or cash in? How could a band that opened for Black Flag stray so far and end up producing a bubblegum album with lyrics like "sometimes all I want is the sunshine."

Simply put, I think the contradictory nature of the hardcore scene got to them, the same way it got to many other bands struggling to both be a band in a particular movement, while also striving to play their own (really good) songs. The same thing happened with Dinosaur Jr. They came off the tongue with bands like ALL, Descendants, Black Flag, and Minutemen as SST staples, but they never really embraced hardcore. Yeah, they can be loud and fast, but in the end it still sounds like you put your finger on a hardcore record to slow it down and add a ripping solo. They could actually play. And they could actually write really classic pop songs. But there wasn't any room for that in hardcore culture. Solos were not celebrated, extended sound was not considered "cool," and melody was shunned. In fact it's odd that a movement that claimed to be so individualistic, revolutionary, and anti-capitalist had so many rules to begin with. Because it wasn't a rock movement defined by subject matter or place (necessarily), but a movement defined wholly by sonic aesthetics. Much like the blues, it was a narrow subgenre that was defined by chord structure (to an extent), song structure, lyrical primitivity, and brevity.

And if a band breaks this, even to make unique, beautiful music, you no longer are seen as vital, or even relevant to a scene. This isn't a bad thing, but it will always mean that bands like Redd Kross, who lasted longer than their contemporaries and strayed further from their original sound, will always be an afterthought behind the "forefathers" of punk. Again, this isn't necessarily bad, but I would argue that the shunning of bands because of their divergence from the norm is a fairly transgressive labeling practice for a movement that is often seen to be so musically, economically, and politically radical.

What I'm trying to prove here, is that Phaseshifter is the perfect example of an album that has absolutely no place in Rock history, but remains a really, really good Rock album. Like the other classic example of overlooked bands, Big Star, it didn't start anything or end anything, but it's still really good rock. "Lady in the Front Row" and "Only a Girl," stand out to me as a band pushing themselves to the limits of what they never though (or probably believed) they would ever play. This album also proves that a band can survive for over a decade playing sub-5:00 songs, while also contributing to two musical sub-genres (hardcore and "indie rock") at the same time.

And in spite of Nick Lowe, I might proclaim it the best power-pop album of all time.

Here's a fun little video of bassist Steve McDonald trying, in desperate, to get his beloved bass back:

Pussy Galore - Exile on Main St. (1986)

Lo and behold, Pussy Galore's mythic and sloppily perfected interpretation of
Exile. Recorded in some junk barn on a 4- track cassette that sounds even junkier, you'll either hate it or dig it. The songs are out of sync and out of tune. They're disfigured and muddied up, then reconstructed in an arousal of that terrific entropy that was seeping through NYC rock & roll during the 80's. (case in point, "Tumbling Dice"). And by the time you listen to the damn thing all the way through, it's obvious Jon Spencer has listened to Exile religiously like any other young disciple of rock & roll. Knows it so well in fact that he justifies distorting it song by song and essentially destroying one of the unanimous masterpieces of the 70's.

Of course, Exile is the only album that could even work that way, which is why it remains the best testament to an ageless type of rock 'n roll. Don't get me wrong, I love Steely Dan, but the minty freshness of each fucking track or chord change or solo arrangement leaves it stuck forever in that age of mid tempo, cleansing 70's rock. Fourteen years after Exile was originally recorded, Pussy Galore recorded their version, a raucous and trashy interpretation that is, despite any misgivings you have, distinctly 80's slack.

there's only something like 500 or so cassettes tapes of this in circulation, so find the digital convenience in the comments.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Broken Water - Whet (2010)

Quick post, but you'll dig this one Austin. Sort of low-end production on this debut lp from Broken Water. Sort of sounds like the slowcore Bad Moon Rising days of Sonic Youth. Mixture of syrupy reverb and dense walls of distortion. Let this one sit with you for awhile and the results should be pretty memorable. I haven't been interested in this genre for a little while now so I'm glad to have heard of something fresh, thanks to "Glowing Raw" for this one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This is Piglet!

Piglet are a math-rock group local to Chicago that put things to an end after the release of their first semi-full length, Lava Land. God damn I love these guys. They create intensely intricate rhythms through guitar tapping/harmonizing and dual drumming. I haven't listened to this for awhile, but there was a time when it would put me into a beautiful, reflective sleep everytime. The guitar section at the end of "Little Bubble, Where are You Going?" will blow your brain out. Enjoy. Chicago's never had weather as good as today...err so it seems.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Biel Ballester Trio - Live In London

From 2006, and featured in some Woody Allen film that wasn't good, this gypsy jazz release really doesn't fit into my typical taste in music as of lately. However, Live In London is a gorgeous album and is rather difficult to find. It holds an acoustic, swinging vibe throughout and has a beautiful cover of the Beatles' "In My Life" midway through. Get it in the comments and dance, monkey, dance.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hackamore Brick-One Kiss Leads To Another (1970)

The influence that Lou Reed and VU has had on rock 'n roll is boldly imprinted through the 70's and 80's and into the 21st century, branching to Bowie and Television and to Tweedy and Yo La Tengo. Hackamore Brick's 1970 One Kiss Leads To Another is the first (and most obvious) nod to the Velvets I can find. Despite more of a folk, and at times, psychedelic essence to the record, the deadpan vocal croons, the jambly guitar strums, the flat Tucker drum beats--they're all there. And on "Oh! Those Sweet Bananas", well, it's a little too obvious.

Still, on many of the tracks, they pull it off quite well. "Bananas", one cannot deny is a hell of a fun tune, and "Radio" is one of those I can imagine sitting in the back of a flat bed, rollin' through a city block, eating an ice cream cone or something. I don't know. But you can grab One Kiss Leads To Another in the comments.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn (2003)

Do Make Say Think's 4th full-length, and one of the greatest post-rock albums I'm aware of. Post-rock is often the genre I connect with most on an emotional level, except maybe for punk which is for completely different reasons. The genre offers long soundscapes that allow for a close relationship to develop between the listener and the music. In an almost cunning manner, albums like this will latch on to your senses, even if you're preoccupied doing something else while listening, so that each crescendo and moment of near-silence weighs so much heavier on your emotions. Do Make Say Think nail this technique on this disc, with a mixture of uplifting and sombre feelings throughout. It has a nice jazz influence, like Tortoise that sets it apart from most, more repetitive post-rock, and the percussion section is damn tight. get it in comments

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Art Bears - Hopes and Fears (1978)

While a lot of bands were blazing their own, totally unique musical trails in the late 70s, Art Bears were an avant-rock group that chose to piece bits of the previous musical decades together until they fit into a half-coherent, creepy musical collage. Combining elements of folk, jazz, noise, and blues, the bears capitalized on the Beefheart equation for success, and subsequently gained their share of punkoid followers. Their name, in legend may not precede them now, but their short-lived legacy lasts on today with a few fairly mythical albums.

This is their debut album Hope and Fears from 1978. It's very strangely strung together, and sometimes it's a little hard to follow, but if yo stick with it it unfolds into a really unique musical moment. There's a lot of bits. It's freaky. There's deep strings that are vaguely reminiscent of a Bernard Herrmann score, there's a lot of off-kilter noise, and there's a hand full of eerie, creepy, and lonely narratives that intersect throughout the course of 13 tracks.

And, if you can't find the path by the first couple tunes, go to track 7, "Terrain." It'll put you on the right track.

This album should also serve as proof of American music's supremacy over British music. Like I said, they try to pull off the Beefheart thing, and it works sometimes, but the redcoats just don't have the soul...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Roots Presents: Dilla Joints

One of my favorite hip-hop acts (and few that is currently still going) covering one of my favorite producers, J Dilla, as a RIP tribute. It's very calming and although I don't recognize any of the Dilla samples on it, Questlove is unbelievable at applying his style to other works. Check it out in the comments, and see our How I Got Over post, also released and winning a grammy in 2010.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cheers from the oldCrippledmen!

May your glass be ever full,
May the roof over your head be always strong,
And may you be in heaven
Half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.

Take a load off, work is the curse of the drinking class. Here's the infamous Pogues' 2nd album, Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, produced by Elvis Costello in 1985. Just about everyone has it, as its sort of the American go-to album on St. Patrick's Day. I'd love to say I was familiar with more traditional Irish music, but thats not very realistic and I suppose I don't actually care all that much. Anyhow, this album is punk infused Irish folk that can really bring the raucous on a night like tonight. It's packed with beautiful ballads like "I'm A Man You Don't Meet Everyday" while at the same time consistently revealing tracks more along the lines of what the album's title suggests. I hope everyone has a chance to relax a throw a few back this evening, regardless of how far fetched and distant the holiday is from your real cultural background. Link in comments. Cheers!

The Pogues - Sunny Side Of the Street

The Pogues and The Dubliners - Whiskey In The Jar

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Emotional Fascism: Words from Elvis in the 70's

Not quite as fuck-it-all as the punks, and not quite as sensitive as the sappy pop of the time, Elvis Costello wrote lyrics in a way told people he did give a fuck-- in the smartest and most bitter of fashions. And it kind of made his contemporaries look like jack-asses.

"Now that your picture's in the paper getting rhythmically admired/and you can have anyone that you have ever desired".
-from "Welcome To the Working Week", My Aim Is True (1977)
One of my favorite opening lines of all time from my favorite debut record. Anyone could have written a masturbation reference about the borderline crude and pagan relationship we have with celebrities, but Elvis's lyrics flow like waves as the "oohs" and "aahs" pleasuringly coast each line to the next. While writing My Aim Is True, Costello was working overtime as a computer programmer in London, and he was already writing songs about the dreary and drab world he lives in.

"You either shut up or get cut up, they don't wanna hear bout it, it's only inches on the reel-to-reel/and the radio is the hands of such a lot of fools, trying to anaesthetise the way that you feel".
-from "Radio, Radio" 7" (1978)
One of the smartest stick-it-to-the-man songs ever written, and has grown to infamy since the legendary SNL appearance. When Elvis and the Attractions were asked to appear on Saturday Night Live, Columbia Records and SNL made Elvis promise to play a single from My Aim Is True, "Less Than Zero" for their performance in order to commercially boost interest in the record. About the 10 seconds into the song, Elvis turns around to his band and yells "Stop! Stop!", apologizes to the audience, remarking "there's no reason to play this song here". He then calls out for "Radio, Radio", counts off and the band rips into the song-- a song distinctly about corporate interests manipulating the artistry of music. watch the video in the comments.
and listen to how he makes such a ballsy word like anaesthetise just drip from his mouth.

"There's a smart, young woman on a bright, blue screen that comes into my house every night. And she takes all the red, yellow, orange and green and she turns it into black and white."
-from "Green Shirt", Armed Forces (1979)
A brilliant tune with complex and unbelievably sticky melodies. Elvis often portrays his disdain for encroaching authority (the entire Armed Forces theme), and "Green Shirt" along with "Oliver's Army" is the smartest portrayal of this. Government paranoia, controlled-media distortion, superficial cover ups. But that almost sounds cliche. The lyrics are so spare and funny and fluctuated that none of this is really evident until you think about it. He paints certain scenes until the whole songs just makes sense and you realize 'shit, this guy is pissed off and he's writing about some serious stuff '.

"Oh, Alison, my aim is true."
-from "Alison" My Aim Is True (1977)
"Oh, I said 'I'm so happy, I could die'/ She said 'drop dead' and then left with another guy."
-from "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" My Aim Is True (1977)
Elvis also tackled the complicated issue of love and relationships. Of course, he put his own bitter and retrospective stance on it. In "Alison", he relents to his ex, "my aim is true". He could be trying to win her back or threatening her with a loaded gun. And the "Red Shoes" line is just brilliantly biting and heartbreaking.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Neon Boys - That's All I Know (Right Now)

It's almost hot outside on the sidewalk. Get ready.

Here's Hell and Verlaine's first stuff. This was like '72. New York.

Two young guns playing some of the best rock n' roll.

So open up your mouth here comes the airplane.

And while you're at it check out the Yoof's cover from the Goo deluxe edition.

Both in comments.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic

This catchy garage pop album circa 2003 by the Exploding Hearts was their debut and only full length. It is catchy as hell and the group obviously worshiped bands like the Buzzcocks and early Clash. There's a lot of energy exploding out of the first half, and even though it loses a bit of steam near the end, its pretty damn rockin. Tragically 3/4 of the members died in a van crash in 2004, because these guys lay down garage/punk totally in tune with my taste.

Check it out in the comment zone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2011 so far

2011 has been a pretty good year of music so far and I like to keep thinking that it will continue to destroy 2010.   Outside of all of the highly anticipated releases, a lot of bands are starting to create pretty big names for themselves with some pretty fucking good albums.
     Firstly I would like to give a shout out to Peaking Lights and their most recent effort 936 which is a vast improvement over anything they have ever done.  It brings a fusion of psychedelic pop with dub which along with some high-quality low-fi production provide for a wholly original tape that rides smoothly the whole way through.   Heavily reverberated vocals appear to be strategically placed throughout the album and used more to create layers of sound, often which is chilling.  All-in-all, this is one of the most solid neo-psychedelia albums out there in it's lush synths, steady bassline, creepy delay-ladden guitars, solid production, as well as sheer originality. I wouldn't be surprised if this album is up there in my top albums of the year come December.
     Next in line we have Gruff Rhys and his February release of pop-sensation Hotel Shampoo.  Gruff is the leader of everybody's favorite Super Furry Animals and has constructed a quirky and somewhat trivial album that just screams fun-loving summertime.  It's all pretty soft stuff, with most of the tracks being around 3 minutes long. What is so enticing about the album is just the overall relaxing feel that is most prominently displayed in Gruff's soft voice and quaint lyrical jostlings. The album is very well balanced and flows in and out of catchy and upbeat songs to tracks that just don't have a whole lot going on.  check em out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

American Candy

You know how it is. Listen to an album you haven't heard since sophomore year in high school and it's like remembering a fuzzy dream. This weekend I was able to go a step further, though. I pulled out the 7" collection that I amassed a couple years ago, so in this case, instead of just re-living certain dreams, I got to touch and feel the characters. It was surreal.

I guess I listened to these records for two hours straight. I'd just sit or stand patiently for two minute intervals while the songs were playing, then hastily jump to to the turntable and pull the needle off when the songs were done, and either flip it to the B-side or throw on a new one. This action--a totally active listening experience--reminded me why I liked listening to records in the first place. I know we've all heard this argument from sometimes self-righteous vinyl listeners before, but it is just a totally different listening experience. You have to work. And also, because of the simple and somewhat crude nature of the technology, you find yourself on the edge of your seat, staring at the needle, hoping that at any contorted blast of feedback or scream doesn't send the needle flying off the slick black surface onto the fuzzy mat. That's the cool thing. It's like a little rock concert. It's always fun because it call could fall apart at any second.

That gets me to the records. I can't upload them all here, but I'll share a few with you that were specifically hot.

The first I put on was the Thermals' 2007 A Pillar of Salt. If you know the Thermals, or this song specifically, then you know their songs are pure rock n' roll. Pure yoooth. Excited lyrics about "our dirty bodies," and "escaping" (from where?) get you every time. Cause you forget sometimes. There're a lot of squares out there I've heard. It's war. And there's hope. And to whatever the A-side challenges, the B-side affirms. "Product Placement" may be my favorite B-side of all time. The song only has one message. There's a lot of cool shit out there that we haven't seen, and we gotta. There's strange people and hip music out there that we haven't heard. It's a hopeful message, man, not a sad one. Dig- you'll never hear it all. There's enough for us all. We gotta have it. Don't you wanna?

Another group of EPs that I listened to was a handful of Butterglory 7"s from the mid-90s. I've always been fond of Butterglory because they remind me that there must have been thousands of bands like them in the 90s. They're all cool, but they all kinda sound like putting your finger on a post-punk record while it slows down and making it a bit more melodic. Jangly. Maybe a bit more like Dream Syndicate. My favorite are Cursive, Our Heads, and Wait for Me. They showcase a band that found their niche and fit perfectly into a pop storyline of the time. I mean it makes sense that all were released on Merge--they've always had a fairly sucessful roster of inde-pop-rock artists that have jsut enough edge, yet remain lovable and somewhat safe. Matt Suggs and Debby Vander Wall trade off vocal duties, and its effect is magic. If I absolutely had to make a comparison, I'd say Beat Happening, but a little less scatterbrain and a lot catchier.

These songs are perfect evidence for my previous vinyl claims. I would never have heard their music if not for a strangely large collection of their 7"s at Vintage Vinyl. And even if I would have, I definitely wouldn't have gotten into them like this. There's something special about getting into an artist two songs at a time, instead of all-you-can-eat portions from the internet. It's a blessing and a curse.

John Lennon-- Some Time In New York City (1972)

Critically disregarded and commercially unimpressed, Lennon's third post-Beatles album is the gutsiest music he's ever recorded.
Some Time In New York City has Chuck Berry rock 'n roll ("New York City"), radical politics ("Woman is the Nigger of the Wold", "Attica State") and two tracks on Irish misfortune ("Sunday Bloody Sunday", and the satirical "The Luck of the Irish").

So it's clear why this often abrasive and politically charged record didn't give the Lennon fan clubs more of the Beatles-carry over heard on Imagine or even Plastic Ono Band. Lennon and Yoko had just moved to New York City. They were living in Greenwich Village. Immediately, they joined wits with leftist pranksters Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and whatever other yippies were around. He was writing protest songs about people getting busted with joints and how women were "the nigger of the world". It's Imagine with a clenched fist.

The songs don't reach the substantialness of the previous solo efforts form John, and no tracks from New York City will ever make another posthumous Lennon compilation album, but anyone who questions the rawness of Lennon, should check this record out. grab it in the comments.

also, dig the picture of a butt-naked Nixon and Mao two-steppin' it on the news print cover.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Zero 7

     Sorry world, posting has been somewhat sparce for me last month due to the death of my computer and egregious amounts of work from my professors and whatnot. I think it's also just the time of year that's getting to me as well. We all know what it is, the agonizing doldrums that lie between the end of winter and the beginning of Spring.  Most of Winter's blows have come and gone and now there is nothing left to do but wait for better times.   Midterms are coming up real fast as well and things are just stressing me out.   Coming back from my morning classes when I know I have a lot of work to get done and I need to get into that groove, zero 7 can provide the jingles.
     Cutting the shit: Zero 7 are a pretty damn good downtempo group that I would say rival some of the best in the genre such as AIR and some Massive Attack, regardless of being a clear derivative.  If you dig ambient, this is pretty much the same thing frosted with a bit of electronic meanderings and a beat. Regardless, downtempo is pretty much the leader in chill out background noise as it is very rhythmically interesting while also being very modest, usually lacking vocals. While their latest albums are pretty decent, I tend to think their earlier albums are much better, most notably 2001's Simple Things.  Simple Things is the perfect unwind after a tough day' labor as the flow of the songs bring about an almost hypnotic state. Sure some of the songs on the album one could say are just "fillers" but the whole point of the album is to be one giant mental "filler" anyway so don't let it bother you. Check it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

John Zorn- Naked City (1988)

I've had the same experiences listening to the relentlessly shifty and tense recordings of Zappa's "Over-Nite Sensation" and Al Di Meola's "Land of The Midnight Sun". It's so over the top and brilliant and complex, that your mind is left hanging only by a thread-- the rest has been blown to hell.

I've never heard anyone quite do it like John Zorn and his band on Naked City.

Every fucking second of this record (and there's 26 tracks of schizophrenic madness) portrays some different twist of avant-garde pleasures : hardcore, schmaltzy 80's jazz, fusion, blues, funk, punk, heavy as fuck, grindcore, country, you name it.

At points, the sound is so film noir, it could be a score. At other instances, like the middle eight tracks, the band manages to record some of the wildest and thrashiest and heaviest music I've ever heard. And it's all composed so tightly and carefully, I'm threatened to say it's the best music out there.

Dig this shit.

New Dead of '92 Songs

It's been a couple years since I bought the first self-recorded and self-released Dead EP. And as impressed as I initially was then, I am even more impressed with the improvements the band has made on this second release. The playing is a little more nuanced and unique than their first offering, and the lyrics offer much more complexity and intrigue. Very bluesy. A little folky. If you like Pavement, you'll dig this.

Try it on here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tape #1: Love

Here's a mixtape I've been foolin' around with lately. I started making it unaware of its final theme, but throughout the process a lot of the songs seemed like love songs (of various sorts), so it evolved into a lovetape. And that's it. There's really no other theme but that. I tried to keep the tone somewhat consistent, but besides that there's really not much all these artists have in common. Enjoy.

Here Goes:
1. "I Can't Control Myself" - The Troggs - From Nowhere... The Troggs (1966)

2. "Sleepy Head" - Beat Happening - You Turn Me On (1992)

3. "Blue" - The Rain Parade - Explosions in the Glass Palace (1984)

4. "We Love You" - The Psychedelic Furs - The Psychedelic Furs (1980)

5. "Sitting in the Park" - Quix*O*Tic - Mortal Mirror (2002)
[Originally written and performed by Billy Stewart.]

6. "Anything Could Happen" - The Clean - Boodle Boodle Boodle (1981)

7. "Tom Courtenay" - Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura (1995)

8. "Run Run Run" - The Stimulators - Loud Fast Rules 7" (1980)

9. "Treason" - The Bats - Daddy's Highway (1987)

10. "Where There's Woman" - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe as Milk (1967)

11. "100,000 Fireflies" - Superchunk - The Question is How Fast (1993)
[Originally written and performed by The Magnetic Fields.]

12. "Death and the Maiden" - The Verlaines - Juvenilia (1987)

13. "Pegan Baby" - Bratmobile - Girls Get Busy (2002)

14. "Hey Little Girl" - Dead Boys - Young, Loud, and Snotty (1977)

15. "Crush" - Tall Dwarfs - Hello Cruel World (1988)