Thursday, August 10, 2006

And now one of mine

Title: None. I don't title my mixes unless they're for someone else.
From: Me to me.
Circa: 2002

Side A:

Hey- Faux Jean
Cynicality- Superdrag
Gett off- Dandy Warhols
Once in a Lifetime- Talking Heads
Blues from a Gun- Jesus and Mary Chain
Watch that girl destroy me- Possum Dixon
At Home He is a Tourist- Gang of Four
Very Ape- Nirvana
Neat Neat Neat- The Damned
Holiday in Cambodia (live)- Dead Kennedys
Too Much to Dream- The Electric Prunes
Ruthie Lingle- 16 Horsepower
The Communication- Thinkin' Fellers Union

Side b:
The Flowers of Guatemala- REM
Kiss Life on the Lips- Faux Jean
Chartruese Skirt- Faux Jean
Look Inside America- Blur
I Feel Better than James Brown- Was (NOT WAS)
Coming Down Glass- Laika
Prison of the Rhythm- Golden Palominoes
Icelandic Round- Hector Zazu
She's the One- Beta Band
Help Me Somebody- David Byrne
Wave of Mutilation- Pixies

Well, I can tell pretty much exactly when I made this by looking at the music, which is kind of nice and kind of a little bit sad. I like mixes that seem timeless, but I put a lot of Faux Jean on there because I had just seen them live and loved it. But since this was just a tape to listen to in the car while I drove in and out of work about half an hour), I don't sweat that too much. I can tell that it was a casual mix because there are a lot of sort of cotton candy picks on there (Pixies, Dead Kennedys, Talking Heads) that I try to stay away from when I make tapes for other people. Or at least include only a little bit of, as sort of palate cleansers. Though this has a Gang of Four track on it, that was before I bought the album (which makes me feel vaguely ashamed, even though it shouldn't) because I'd gotten it off of an Uncut sampler. I don't think I can over-emphasize the amount of influence that samplers had in my early (really, pre-internet) music life, something that I've largely given up. Especially now, as (I don't know if it's me or the music) they seem to have really fallen off in terms of quality and ecclecticism. Especially CMJ and Uncut, and who has the cash to get a subscription to Wire? (If anyone reading this would like to buy me one...)
On the whole, I think it holds up, though I'd only give it a c+/b- grade. Too much rock, and the dancier stuff is kinda all clumped together. I was in transition, adding more and more from outside of my indie rock comfort zone, but the non-rock stuff is still pretty tame.

Another mixology 101 coursepack

Title: 3 months are 2 long to make 1 mix tape
From: Jason, the former cinema editor at Current. He was cool, in a band (that kinda sucked), and was passionate about music. Once he was gone, the place kinda sucked. Well, I guess the next guy to hold that position, Chad Walsh, was pretty cool to. I had asked him to make me a mix tape that would get me into the Flaming Lips, and he did.

Side A:
This is Music— The Verve
Kim's Watermelon Gun— Flaming Lips
The Slider— T. Rex
Electricc Phase— Spiritualized
All of my Tears— "
Endlessly— Mercury Rev
Inner Meet Me— Beta Band
Mother Sky— Can
Something Goes Wrong— Medicine
September Gurls— Big Star
Benefits of Lying— Apples in Stereo
Dark Globe— Syd Barrett
Satan Gave me a Taco— Beck
Slow Nerve Action— Flaming Lips
No Money No Honey— Beck

side b:
The Pink— Medicine
From a Motel 6— Yo La Tengo
Coney Island Cyclone— Mercury Rev
Unconsciously Screaming— Flaming Lips
Sister Ray (edit)— Velvet Underground
Gimme Danger— Stooges
Come Together— Spiritualized
The Sun, The Sea— The Verve
Slide Away— The Verve
What's Going Ahn— Big Star
I Am the Cosmos— Chris Bell
Beer Can— Beck
Round the Bend— Beta Band
A Pert Cyclic Omen— Electric Company

Verdict— Well, it breaks a lot of "rules," but seeings as how I asked him to, that hardly counts. It DID get me into the Flaming Lips, something that I can thank him for re: my current girlfriend (a Lips fan when we met). It also cemented my love of Spiritualized, T. Rex, The Beta Band, Can, Big Star and Chris Bell. I even took the name for my weekly column from it. All that from a tape that broke "the rules" as propounded by the Nick Hornsby gooners of the world. And beyond that, it's still great to listen to. The tone and the segues are immaculate, and the Beck bits help leaven what's otherwise a pretty portentuous mix. I kinda wonder what Jason's up to now (I guess I could find him on friendster...) but this is a mix I still love.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More from the wayback mix machine

Title: Josh Mix
From: The intern Trevor. He worked for us for a while before going off to New York. He was one of the first folks outside my family that I thought had great taste, and I still like this mix a lot. Too bad I played it so much that it snapped. It's around here somewhere, waiting for the splice tape.
Circa: 2001

Side A
Uncle Tupelo— We've Been Had
Aloha— Roanoake Born
Moby— Run On
Stevie Wonder— Lookin' For Another Girl
Ted Leo— The Nice People Argument
De La Soul— Ego Trippin' Part 2
Pedro The Lion— Promise
Roots with Most Def— Double Trouble
The Clash— 48 Hours
Young Pioneers— Fuck This Labor Pool
Eric B and Rakim— Know the Ledge
Thelonious Monk— Blue Monk

Side B
Parka Kings— Shocks
Fifteen— The Middle
Slick Rick with Outkast— Street Talkin'
The Holy Childhood— Fat Tuesday Everyday
Handsome Boy Modelling School— The Projects
Avail— McCarthy
Louis Armstrong— St. James Infirmary
The Jam— I Changed My Address
Redmond Shooting Stars— Just Like You
Mos Def— Habitat
Pogues— Dirty Old Town
Crimpshrine— Rearranged
Stevie Wonder— Living for the City

Verdict: One of the most skillful multigenre mixes I've gotten. Introduced me to a whole buncha people, including Ted Leo (though I didn't remember this by the time Hearts of Oak came out), Aloha, Louis Armstrong and Uncle Tupelo. On the one hand, I felt kinda slighted once I went out and investigated more of these artists, since I hated pretty much the rest of Play (from Moby), Pedro the Lion, and Aloha. But that really speaks to the skill of this mix— I love the songs from them here, and they work perfectly. Extra points for songs like Ego Trippin', which I still put on an inordinate amount of tapes.
And something to note is that both this tape and the one before it broke that oft-cited rule about not putting more than one song by an artist on there. It's kinda like being told not to start your sentences with "and." It's one of those things that you can get away with once you can write well enough to know when it's appropriate. Fucking killer mix.

What makes a good mix

To the poor soul of this AskMe question: There are a lot of things that make a good mix. But most MeFi/MeCha/MoFi folks don't know 'em. I stopped participating in the swaps because I got sick of getting a bunch of different Coldplay soundalikes and feeling cheated. So, the first rule of the mix is only swap with people you know, because if you don't you tend to get a lot of crap from people more interested in promoting their taste than putting together a solid mix (or maybe they all just have shitty taste).

To further the art, I went and grabbed about six tapes that I love love love, from different periods in my life. I may upload some of the mixes I've made too, though those are all more recent that these.

Here they are, in rough chronological order—

Title: Lots of random music!! Woo hoo!! chock full of good stuff
From: Chiann Tsui, a pal from high school. She made my girlfriend jealous during the early stages of our relationship. I think Chiann's in China now, and she was always too smart for me anyway.
circa— '98? '99?

Tracklist: Side A

I Hate Rock and Roll— Jesus and Mary Chain
Universal Dawn— Eric's Trip
If I Only Had a Brain— MC 900ft Jesus
Alright— Whirling Road
Lion's Mouth— Big Chief
Party With the Gods— Borax
Teenage Riot— Sonic Youth
Landing— The Gandharvas
Kiss Off— Violent Femmes
Explain— Jeremy Enigk
Physically Unaddictive Mind Change— Elevator to Hell
Stood Up— Sloan

Side B

Bad Time— Getaway Cruiser
Poppy Song— Mollys Reach
Sunday Morning— Velvet Underground
Quarter— Tightrope
The Land of Where Lost Dreams Go— Tara S'Appart
Sign Up Maybe For Being— Richard Davies
Cut Your Hair— Pavement
What Are Your Coordinates— Snailhouse
Demons— Yo La Tengo
Kings— Magnetic Fields
Theme— Soft Blanket
Puzzle Pieces— Tiget Trap
One Day— The Super Friendz
I Often Dream of Trains— Eric's Trip

Verdict: Fantastic mix of indie pop back from when that wasn't just the first thing that college students learned to listen to. Introduced me to Magnetic Fields and The Gandharvas. A good selection of popular and obscure stuff, and an excellent job done repping local artists.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Albums they missed

From the MeFi thread. Someone asked for brief descriptions about each of these "influential" albums.

Suicide— s/t

This, along with the Silver Apples, was one of the first "synthesizer" albums, and definitely the first "New York" synthesizer albums. Urban, dark, decadent and, well, dancy. Without this, no Joy Division.

Lou Reed— Metal Machine Music

Noise kills record contracts dead. The first noise album on a major label, and a huge influence for people constructing cacophonics. Without this, no Einsturzende Neubauten.

Christian Marclay— Record Without Grooves

Vinyl played wrong. Without this, many people wouldn't see the turntable as an instrument all unto itself.

Miles Davis— Bitches Brew

People like to talk about the studio as instrument and laud The Beatles and Beach Boys. This is where you could take it if you weren't trying to accomodate a bunch of music hall bullshit.

John Coltrane— A Love Supreme

Coltrane's influence in saxophone players is a hard thing to quantify, in that a lot of people would love to play like him but can't (me, especially). This album is both accessible and mindblowing, and solidified a lot of the ideas of modern/free jazz while not being Om (which is great, but is not for passive listening).

La Monte Young— Well Tuned Piano

Young's drone work was an important influence on Krautrock and all minimal avant garde, including Phillip Glass.

John Cage— 4'33"

Karlheinz Stockhausen— Kontakt

One of the first compositions to combine live performers with electronics and tape loops, Stockhausen laid some of the foundation for things like DAT triggering. It's also good to listen to.

Edgard Varese— Poem Electronique

More avant electronics. Le Corbusier commissioned this tape piece from Varese as part of an architectural multimedia installation, and it pushed the conceptual boundaries of electronic composition. Varese was aided by Le Corbusier's assistant Iannis Xenakis, who became one of the most famous of the electro-minimal composers.

Raymond Scott— Powerstation

Raymond Scott's Looney Tunes work permeated the dreams of a generation. Maybe not as influential in terms of, well, being an album, but his use of odd instrumentation and experimental effects can be traced down to bands as diverse as the Mothers of Invention to Lighting Bolt.
Charles Mingus— New Tijuana Moods

The American middle ground between Modern jazz and Latin jazz.

Thelonius Monk— Brilliant Corners

I said s/t when I was running through things from the top of my head, but I should have said this one. Syncopated, abrupt, jarring, nimble, quick. Art Blakey's the sax and this 1956 disc is another that changed how composition was considered.

The Raspberries— Fresh

Power pop started around here somewhere, and the 1972 Rasberries wanted to be the 1969 Nazz (or maybe Badfinger). Either way, they got close enough.

Big Star— #1 Record

This album is probably the biggest omission. Without it, no REM, no Cheap Trick, no power pop as we know it.

Minor Threat— Minor Threat

xxstraightedgexx! Hardcore punk's best and most influential album.

Rites of Spring— End on End

I don't really like emo, but this is where it comes from.

Fugazi— Repeater

Once upon a time, emo was really more "post-hardcore." This is post-hardcore at its finest. Another one of those "without them, no Lightning Bolt" sort of bands.

Husker Du— Zen Arcade

More post-hardcore. But seriously, without them, no My Chemical Romance or any of the other soft post-emo bands. (Don't let that count against Husker Du...)

Wire— Pink Flag

Post-punk at its tightest. These guys were huge influences on REM and most of indie rock.

Wire— Chairs Missing

And they kept changing. The indie-meets-electronic stuff they're doing here (which had been preceded by Suicide above) is just now starting to crest. No Franz Ferdinand, no Futureheards, no Bloc Party without this album.

Gang of Four— Entertainment

The funky side of post-punk. No TV on the Radio, no Franz Ferdinand, no Bloc Party.

I'll get to the rest of them later...

Monday, July 17, 2006

For the AskMes

These take a little bit of self-assembly, in that I haven't found a good Mac (free) program to make .m3u files with.
As such, here's the "correct" order:

"Another Offload*FIXED* (hopefully)

Esp Black Mass
Cars Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
Punk Under Pressure Kadie Red
I Need A Freak Sexual Harrassment
Closet Freak Cee-Lo
Don't Lose Control Material
(Just Like We) Breakdown Hot Chip
Do Ya Electric Light Orchestra
Affentanz Abwärts
a1-limited entertainment Glaxo Babies
I Bet You Funkadelic
Dark Skin Girls Del Tha Funky Homosapien
Needy Girl (Bloc Party Remix) Chromeo
Heavy Rotation Cobra Killer
Where You Headed? DJ Jubilee
Game Over (Feat Jay Dee And Phat Kat) Dabrye

"Jazzbo Wrong"

04 1 Baroque Jazz Trio
01 Merry-Go-Round TERUMASA HINO
My Very Own Sweetheart Heavy Balloon
Track 10 Embermen Five
Minikillers I Johnny Teupen
A Hidden Trap Cosmos Factory
What's The Name Of Your School? DJ Jubilee
Corn Fish Dub Lee "Scratch" Perry
Dom (Electricity Elects The Rain 39 Clocks
Happy Girl Who Made Who
Program Me Bruce Haack With Ed Harvey
Killer Man Jaro Dillinger
Don`t Take Another Man`s Life Ranking Dellinger
Deshominisation (I) Alain Goraguer

Memorial Day Party.

Her_story Flying Lizards
Saturday Night Langley Schools Music Project
Bored [1978] Destroy All Monsters
Skin Tight Skin Suzi Quatro
Bad Reputation The dB'S
Hearts In Exile Homosexuals, The
Dub It (Nice and Easy) Upsetters
Cool Stroker Prince Buster & The All Stars
Handa Wanda Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indian Band
50 Ways Kool Moe Dee
Neck, the Kent And The Candidates
Dance This Mess Around B-52's, The
Back Seat Love Nikki and the Corvettes
Hey Girls The Avatars
11 59 Blondie
I Know You Love My Synthesizers Charlie Slick
Eric B. Is President Eric B & Rakim
Poney Part 1 Vitalic
Are Friends Electric Gary Numan

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Hey y'all, both of ya.
I'm working for cousinsvinyl now. Not a whole lot up there, but at least a little. Boom!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Prop shop!

Amy and I are doing Prop Shop tonight on 88.3 WCBN (.org).

Listen live on teh intarweb for Old Skool Hip Hop.

Long time, no see...

I'll be back to regular blogging soon.
In the meantime, maybe you could enjoy this leak of Thom Yorke's Eraser.

I'll talk about it in some, I'm still listening to it. And the nice thing about Radiohead fans is that they can be trusted to buy the album after they've downloaded it...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I've been lax.

Have a job at a record store now, but an online one. Creating a website. Should be interesting. Rare vinyl stuff.

I've got a new computer that I need to fix, and decide what to do with the computer that I have... Probably semi-cannibalize it. Maybe put it on the network as a purely storage computer.

Interesting discussion at Metafilter about Sasha Frere-Jones and Stephin Merritt.

I started thinking about the discussion in terms of the arguments about pornographic taste. I mean, that's one of those things that's assumed to have root causes, yet has a very powerful sensory reaction. Does your taste in music stem from exposure, disturbances, whatever?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ed Sanders

Well, I got a request for the Ed Sander's Truckstop album, and in particular two songs (which took me forever to find when I first looked for 'em since the requester and I made the same mistakes about what should be named what). But, with little ado, and minus a few songs that wouldn't fit on the 25mb storage space that I have, here's Truckstop. If you want the other songs, get ahold of me...

The Plaster Song

Popularized by Red Dorkus and his band, this is the tragic lament of the deliterious effects that plaster casters can have on a relationship.

Jimmy Joe the Hippybilly Boy

The awful tale of a boy misunderstood by his neighbors, but lauded after death. It also drives Amy up the fucking wall, and so I secretly enjoy it.

Maple Court Tragedy

Better known as "Polaroid Spread Shots," this is a classic of love and loss.

Heartbreak Crash Pad
Who hasn't had a special place that becomes impossible to return to due to the weight of memories?

The Illiad, a theme for America, would go here, but I had it up for a while and no one seemed to want it. Maybe I'll put it back up and take down some of these other ones soon.

The ABM Machine

Better known as "Are you a vampire, Melvin Laird," this song questions the evil within all of us.

Homesick Blues

Ed Sanders tackles the problem of the recently released poet prisoner returning home with his characteristic delicacy.


An Irish love song.

Breadtray Mountain

A sequel to "Hardrock Candy Mountain"? The plaintive fiddle sets this apart...

They're Cutting my Coffin at the Sawmill

Pretty self-explainitory.

Pindar's Revenge

The old country school is now a crashpad. If that doesn't break your heart, nothing will.

The Yodellin' Yippie is the other missing track that would prevent you from assembling the full album. It's another that I've put up before, but might be convinced to re-up.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Nature's Hated

So, I'm vaguely curious about Romo, after hearing it described in glowing terms on ILM, and I'm listening to Nature's Hated by Orlando. I think it's OK, a little too Manic Street but no big deal.

Amy comes in and "What the hell is that SHIT? I can't even think, it's that bad!"

So... take it as you will.

Monday, April 10, 2006


It's been a classic MOR day here at the Honest Engine pagoda. What does that mean? Well, it means that I've given my first listen (ever!) to two albums widely reputed to be "classics" that somehow my punk affinities had led me to overlook— Aja by Steely Dan and Hermit of Mink Hollow by Todd Rundgren.

First, the Steely Dan. I found a vinyl copy of Aja in my girlfriend's crates and stuck it on.

Maybe the problem is that I'd been listening to real jazz right before it (Archie Shepp's brilliant Choral Rock), but the smoove was overpowering. Pleasant, and I don't have any hate for it, but like baby food. Like jazz pre-chewed.
I liked Deacon Blues OK, and I thought Josie was pretty cool. I like the bass sound that they've got, warm and mid-'70s. But things like the disco-ish beat on Black Cow and the endless vapid crooning (I know, I know, everyone loves the lyrics. But Home At Last is pretty damn empty, at least to me). Too much pretention in this yacht rock. If I'm going to listen to smoov, I want something a little more fun and a little less late night AM radio. Too much REO Speedwagon. Too much Hall and Oates ballad. And I know, I know, those guys didn't do it as meticulously (or something). And Steely Dan passes on the practical scale— you can tell that they succeeded at putting out albums that sounded like they wanted them to sound, even if that meant saxophones so slick that they glisten like slug trails. And if the argument is going to be that you simply need to be a musician to comprehend their consumate skill, well, I'll cop to feeling a little more populist on that front (while acknowledging the contradiction between that and eschewing 'smooth,' 'accessible' music).
I'm not even going to bother with the real/memorex distinction about whether or not the crushing on Steely Dan that I see a lot of places is genuine/backlash, except to say that the endless hype did make me expect something more. Sorry, I'll take my Sex Pistols album over Aja any day, and rating the other way seems to be more contrarianism than conviction (and I've seen a lot of people now rate it the other way).
Weirdly enough, the "slick disco" isn't as much of a problem for me as the slick jazz. I've been tussling with my dad over Donna Summer and my growing appreciation for her this last week, but he loves Steely Dan in a way that I don't get. It sounds too much like the theme from 'Taxi.'
And, given the choice of studio lunacy, I'll take 10cc any day. At least they seemed like they were having fun, rather than placing a coke-fueled chrome polish onto Randy Newman song suites. Out of 10, I'd put it Aja at 5.5 or so, a bit above "I'm Your Captain." Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I'll listen to it again in five years.

As for Rundgren, I'm a big Nazz fan but never really knew anything from his solo career outside of Bang on a Drum... Hermit of Mink Hollow is apparently about his breakup with Bebe Neuworth (or whatever her last name is), the relationship that spawned Liv Tyler (kinda). But listening to it really just crystalizes why punk must have been so exciting, and why saxophones have totally dropped out of the rock lexicon. It's not that the sax is a bad instrument, or unsuited for rock, it's just that folks like Rundgren used it as a patina of soulfulness over extremely white licks. Of course, I hate the E Street Band, so whaddo I know? But this album is so packed with self-indulgent pap that it makes Steely Dan sound positively lean and populist. The tortured rhymes of "Lucky Guy" ('And when there's pain he never minds it/ when it's lost he always finds it') sound like they were written as theme songs for angsty tv shows about blondes with teased hair. Despite the Big Star theme of That '70s Show, this is the MOR shit that sums up their aesthetic. For anyone reading, I'm listening so you don't have to. Even the 'rockers' like "Out of Control" sound more like wanky Paul Sabu than, say, KISS. Where did the Rundgren that was so beautifully psychadelic in The Nazz go? When Rundgren threatens to go 'totally out of control,' his rampage means having a couple of beers and maybe letting the air out of his neighbor's tires. And the ballads are one of the strongest arguments for that now-dismissed canard that 'music sucked during the '70s.' If I heard this on the radio, I can only imagine that heroin, safety pin jewelry and nihilism would seem like the only acceptable answer.

So, today's score is two "classic" albums that I'd never heard and now vaguely wish I hadn't. At least the Steely Dan seems like it might be worth listening to again, sometime when I'm going to have totally shitfaced sex with a girl I don't like very much. I can't imagine ever having sex to Rundgren.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Jon Moody, a pal of mine, challenged me to make him a mix that was only 25% guitar rock.
Here's what I came up with:

Moody (Spaced Out) ESG
Handclapping Song The Meters
spin the impossible dreamers
Deep Soul Pt. 1 Ron Buford
Mama Too Tight Archie Shepp
Trance Space Flying Rhythms
Oui Oui Pulsallama
Chinese Black The Neon Judgement
The Rat Kissed the Cat Funkadelic
stand on the word the joubert singers
It's A Nice World To Visit (But Not To Live In) Ann-Margret
break the ice at parties tesco bombers
'Guys are not proud (7'') (Red Sweater) The Anemic Boyfriends
up and above dub P1/E
Good As Gold - Flexible Skulls Tiga
They Don't Want Your Corn They Want Your Kids Liars
Second Song Afrirampo
The Taster Wild Man Fischer
No You Can't Take Them Stuart Hyatt
College Grad The Mutants

Only one of the tracks is guitar rock per se, but there's a fair balance there... His mix was pretty good too.
Lemme know if anyone wants this posted as a .zip

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

They sing the news so you don't have to

Topical ditties in doggerel from The Aural Times, including a barbersop quartet about Isaac Hayes's departure from South Park and a lovely triffle about Stanislaw Lem.
Look it up, folks.
Similar, but with better musical sense, to Songs to Wear Pants To.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I stumbled on to it it it it it it it it it...

Some of you may know that I'm an inveterate dope smoker. Which is OK, but too much dope smokin' music tends to be pretty fucking boring (jam bands, I'm looking at you).
But... A good dub out does everyone good. Check out Hearwax for some amazing dub sides. Yeah, it's another one of those intermittently updated rapidshare blogs, but his Perry A to Z is a tight mix, and he's got good taste.
So get on already!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I got this promo from the band The Destroyed, who were a punk band in Boston that reformed. The new album's pretty worthless, as it's guitar/drums/vocals (no bass) freeform jam sorta crap. Occassionally, it gets interesting in an antimusic way, and the drummer really does sound like a drunk Keith Moon (though arguably no records exist today with a sober Keith Moon).

But by digging at their site, I found a couple of really great old chaotic punk tracks. I particularly enjoy We Got It and War Planes.
There's also kinda noisey electronic/new wave My Dad is Dead with Anti-Socialist.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bringin' Back that ol' Hardcore Rap

Cloak N Dagga— Def Con Zero: The Last Tour On Earth (Head Trauma, 2005)

Canibus, one half of Cloak N Dagga, might best be remembered as the also-ran MC who dissed LL Cool J with “Second Round K.O.,” which LL answered with “The Ripper Strikes Back,” way back in 1998. He’s done more since then, but Canibus has failed to make any music worth owning after going down as one of the first rappers to have their solo debut ruined by a post-Fugees Wyclef.
With that being the last noteworthy blip in his career, it’s fitting that Def Con Zero starts with a loudspeaker announcing the rules for existence in a post-apocalyptic bomb shelter. Those three diktats, that the sex in the shelter is for procreation only, that no rhymes from outside their jurisdiction will be recognized, and that it’s “not about who sells the most albums, but who sells the last album” explain all of Def Con Zero.
First off, while there are occasional tracks that celebrate the pimpin’ proficiency of our protagonists ancillarily, this is a strictly hardcore album with the blunt, flat beats and compressed cymbal hits that requires. This album is not for cruising strip clubs so much as strip malls and looking hard. Occasionally exhilarating, rarely exciting.
Second, while there are undeniably good moments in rhyme (“I’m the walkin’, talkin’ Stephen Hawkins”), there’s no doubt that the lyrics are dated. On the last track, there’s even another dis on LL. By refusing to recognize rhymes from outside, Cloak N Dagga handily insulate themselves from both being called out and having to justify their fairly monotonous flow.
Which brings us to the third point— there doesn’t seem to be any forward motion on Def Con Zero. There’s a lot of hardcore posturing, some deft boasting, and that’s about it. The theory seems to be that by remaining unchanged, they’ll sell the last album and thereby vindicate their long sojourn in the bunker.
Too bad that by remaining sequestered, they’re only likely to sell those albums to each other.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The High Strung

Part of what I like about the '70s in rock is that there's this great sense of future and purpose in the music of bands like Big Star and Mott The Hoople. Even at the downturns, even when the girls are September, even when hangin' out is a chore, there's this sense of motion forward. Perhaps it's because there's such longing, and any longing you have has to be connected with a future, possible or impossible. But how can All The Young Dudes promise anything other than a better future?

There's enough of a connection between The High Strung and '70s power pop that when I first started listening to the album Moxie Bravo, I thought of all of the places that I loved '70s rock, the places where it fit and comforted. And I kept thinking of places like the long drive down Washtenaw, out of Ypsi, back to Ann Arbor, where at night it's an endless spread of chrome dealerships under halogen, where everything is blue-lit and harsh. I think back to working in restaurants, and turning on the classic rock radio as I drove home, and how it was always a call to get the hell out.

What makes this work is the immaculate sense of flourish over fundamentally good structures— the drum roll that runs alongside the verses in "Seems it's One Thing" gives singer Josh Malerman the room to create a long-suffering character without feeling like you're suffering through a message set to music. Their predecessors in power pop should be known for this too, especially one that gets too much ink for the wrong reasons. Malerman can hit an alto that's not too far away from Jack White's, and Jack should probably be better known for his fantastic pop chops than his blues vamping, but we'll leave that aside. (We'll also leave aside how much of a kiss of death it can be here in Southeastern Michigan to invoke White in any comparison). Still, for the traditional X-meets-Y of rock reviews, you could do worse than "Pop Jack White" and "Big Star."

This isn't to discount the rest of the band. Malerman's a major factor, but one of the High Strung's strengths is their economy. In this post-Arcade Fire world of indie rock, I see bands like the Descent of the Holy Ghost Church and Canada (on the indie rock tip, Coke Dick Motorcycle Awesome on the pop metal tip) with enough members to staff a White Castle up on stage, but without the ability to write a single decent melody line for any of them. There's this belief that by mass of numbers, somehow an interesting song can be clumped together out of shifting dynamics. Instead, the High Strung are a trio, and a robust trio at that. Derek Berk's drumming is a high point of "Seems It's One Thing," with thunderous rolls like hilly giants falling down a flight of stairs. And having a bassist in Chad Stocker who's able to both play unobtrusive rhythm and provide a hook as thick as Rocky's forearm. Mallerman trust the rhythm section enough to give them the space to make a great song.

And more than anything, the virtue of Moxie Bravo is that it's infectious. I couldn't get to sleep last night because I had "A Real Mealticket" stuck in my head. It was three, maybe four in the morning before I finally dozed off. With great power pop comes great responsibility?

Anyway, there are three mp3s up on their site, the aforementioned mealticket, "N over C," a glammy single that's about the middle of their album quality wise, and "Truce," which is really about as influence-laden as they get. It's vaguely a shame that they're not putting some of my favorites up for free (like "Deck The Boy" which is going on every mixtape I make for the next year or so), but in contrast to my general demeanor, I'd like you to buy the goddamned album, you yobbos.

Anyway, I know that I get about 12 readers a day. About half of those should be random googlers who I frustrate by taking songs down even as I remain the top google hit. The rest of you? Well, take a listen. I really like this band. Would it kill you to comment?

Friday, March 10, 2006

From the google-ad gutter

Man, this is an example in how not to make a music site.
Not only is the color hideous, but the mission statement is long and convoluted (and you should be able to tell what the mission of a site is without having to read a goddamned statement), the links a poorly-rendered (here's a hint- if it says mp3 link, I don't want a .asf file asking me how to open it), and the overall thrust of the site is too broad. It's lovely to dream of changing all of the music industry, but I'd rather read a well-written niche site than one that's trying to do everything and succeeding at nothing.

(There were a couple of decent songs there though).

Which one of the Osmonds was a little bit country?

When I was a kid, I remember with a little bit of shame, I hated country music. I, frankly, blame my mother. Well, and society. I had this image of country music as something backwards and retarded, something that would somehow make me physically inbred just by playing it. If I wasn't ever vigilant, I'd end up sodomized on some rafting trip yet enjoying it. Anyway, in those days I was all about industrial music anyway, even to the point of refering to myself as a "rivethead."

Right. Well, I'm glad I got over both of those preoccupations. The country thing might have had something to do with Billy Ray Cyrus and Garth Brooks, or with my mom's combination of strong opinions and narrow taste, but I was an ass, and I've grown out of it (well, with regards to country, anyway).

With that in mind, here are a handful of tracks that I've learned to love over the years that I would've loudly decried had my dad put 'em on the stereo as a kid. They're still not proper Country, per se, but hell, you get enough of that with the Cash movie, right?

Lawn Dart by Ed's Redeeming Qualities.
A powerful ballad of love and loss, from ukelele-slingers to the K-Mart. I first heard this song on a CMJ Certain Damage comp back in the early '90s, and I spent years looking for it. The album showed up randomly on the internets, so I downloaded it and couldn't be happier. I've since bought it (though used, so the band still didn't get any money off me. You should buy it to make me feel better).
I swear that if you play this song during the summer, you will think of it every time you play any lawn game. Even croquet.

We Will Retake Saigon by Buddy Holocaust.
Great name, innit? Buddy Holocaust? Just the one guy, and this is one of those songs that no one knows whether it's a parody or not. Buddy died in a car crash that might have been a suicide soon after it was recorded. I think it's tongue in cheek, but I think that even if it were serious it would be hilarious.

The Illiad by Ed Sanders
As the astute can tell, Ed Sanders was part of The Fugs, one of America's most uplifting bands. But he was also a writer (of terrible poetry, really) and a recording artist in his own right. For some reason, his solo album Truckstop has never been reissued, despite it being, well, awesome. I had a hard time deciding what to upload, but I finally went with 'The Illiad,' which gives a pretty good indication of the tone of the album— funny, weird, but well-played. My father used to quote lines from this all the time while I was growing up, and I'm glad that I tracked it down.

Bad Blood by the Bonzo Dog Band
In fact, a lot of what I'm putting up today is stuff my dad used to sing to us, even though he'd lost his copies years ago. This one's the Bonzos, who should be known to everyone who likes Monty Python or Death Cab for Cutie. I like how far back the vocals are in the mix, it gives it an ominious feeling, even as he's singing about eggstains. Luckily, this is one that is pretty easy to find, if you look for it. It's also a song that for some reason my FTP program refuses to upload, so that's why it's a YSI link today.

Monkeys versus Donkeys by Wildman Fischer
And closing us out is another rarity, from the album "An Evening With..." which hasn't ever been reissued. There's kinda an epic disagreement between Frank Zappa, who recorded it and whose label issued it (and who was a famous asshole) and Wildman Fischer (who's crazy). There's even an apocryphal story about WMF pulling a tampon out of Frank's wife (who now controls the back catalogue) in a bathroom. You're unlikely to see this anywhere else, really. I had to go looking all over to find it last Christmas, and finally ended up patching together a bunch of different versions of vinyl rips into a cohesive album's worth. Still, it's so incredibly catchy that you can't turn away...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The handsome structure

Supersystem's New Album.

When Amy and I were just first dating, she made me these great mix tapes that had a couple of tracks from El Guapo's Super/System on 'em, and I loved the music. It was, in fact, one of the big reasons that I fell for her— she had great taste. And people with great taste have to be awesome, right? Well, in her case, that worked out. El Guapo was even going to play live in Detroit, and we thought about going to see 'em for our third date. Instead, we stayed here and she took me to her room to show me her 'zines. I maintain that it was a cunning plot to lure me up there, but she doesn't like it when I talk like that.

Anyway, she moved away for a year, and while she was gone, El Guapo put out a pretty mediocre follow-up called Fake French, which played into the worst tendencies of the nascent electroclash "movement." I picked up an older album, which had some of Super/System's songs done without the electronics, and really liked 'em. We've since seen them live a couple of times and found out that their very first album is a pretty boring emo-core drudge. So, it seems like they're a group that's only going to have one great album ever.

Anyway, a thread on Metafilter comes up, and I mention 'em. Somebody else lets me know that they've changed their name and some of the personelle. I track down the whole album, streaming, which is above. It's, well, y'know how they kidna jumped the electroclash bandwagon? Yeah, well, they're kinda at the tail-end of the post-punk/dancing-indie wagon now. Which is a shame, because the album is decent but not spectacular, and the weirdness is pretty well relegated to side corners. Which, honestly, should make them as popular as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, but whatever. I give it a 6/10. Good, but not great, and not really worth buying.

Anyone wanna disagree?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Rock 'n' Roll

I'm a huge fan of Led Zepplin, and found this set of songs that influenced them pretty interesting. A lot of it I'd already heard, but some of it was new to me. Included is the fabled original Dazed and Confused.

New music!

If you've been following the audioscrobbler scrawl above (and I know that all of you have what I listen to on your RSS feeds), you'd notice that I have a LOT of new music right now. Woo.

Partial List:
Erkin Koray— The Electronic Turkuler
EK's the big man of Turkish psych, and I'm looking forward to this album. All I've heard from him have been comps, but this looks pretty solid and is supposed to be his most psychedelic album.

Nautical Almanac— Rejerks vol. 1
Nautical Almanac are part of the second wave of noise artists, and this is a set of "songs" that were pulled from their albums as not being up to snuff or whatever. Still, it's pretty great stuff, with heavy Nurse With Wound overtones and a fair amount of random bleeping. Much less abrasive than most noise, this is more skittering and thudding.

v/a- Simla Beat
Indian Psych comp. Haven't listened to it yet, but looking forward to it.

v/a- Garage Beats Vol. 1-4
Once you start down that Nuggets rabbithole, it's hard to stop. There's always more and more and more and more garage stuff, and this seems like a fairly good collection of it. Lots of the same songs that appeared on the Nuggets comps, but with shittier recording usually. What I do like is that there's a lot more trippy weird shit, and there are a lot more women represented.

Lady Sovereign— Vertically Challenged
I've heard good things about this 19(!)-year-old grime MC, and I liked The Broom and Cha-Ching (and the reply song to Bad Ass Stripper that she did). I like that she's unafraid of dis tracks, and usually has good production. Still haven't heard this one.

Nation of Ulysseus— The Embassy Tapes
I was in Wazoo with a limited amount to spend a couple years ago, and was wondering whether I should get the Young Liars ep or Plays Pretty For Baby. The clerk looked at me and said, "Well, TV on the Radio's pretty good, but Ulysseus are a fucking weapon, man." I went with the Ulysseus (though I later picked up the ep), and I haven't been disappointed. I haven't gotten around to this, a later recording made at the "Embassy," but I'm looking forward to it.

Six Finger Satellite— The Pigeon is the Most Popular Bird
I had been hearing about these guys, well, since a classmate had a poster in his locker of them in high school (though I later found out that he didn't like their music at all, just the silver poster, and that it came with a Zumpano album in mail order). But I finally got around to finding one of thier albums, their first one, and I love it. Totally the missing link between Gang of Four and Brainiac. Spazz guitars, angular funk bassline, squalling electronics. I really need to find the rest of their albums, and I feel like a schmuck for sleeping on them the first time around.

Destroyer— Your Blues
In seeking to write some interview with Dan Bejar for Current (which, becuase of deadline stuff, never came through) I got a copy of Rubies, their latest album, and really dug it. So the next step was to go one back, to an album referenced on Rubies, Your Blues. I've only listened to it once, and vaguely liked it (though not as much as Rubies), but will give it another shot sometime soon.

Metal Urbain— Anarchy in Paris
More weird-ass electropunkery, this time from French anarchists. I had loved their track Ultra Violence for a while, having found it on some sampler or another, but this album throbs and thrumms in all the right places. God bless 'em. I look forward to listening to this again.

Red Krayola— Fingerpainting
Red Krayola— God Save the Good Ship...
While at 'CBN, helping with their fund drive, I burned this and another Red Krayola album outof curiousity. I've heard their Hurricane Fighter Plane and liked it, heard their 'singles' album and thought it was OK, and was willing to give them another shot (you know, since I was basically getting 'em for free). Haven't listened to Fingerpainting, have listened to God Save. I expected a little more 13th Floor Elevators on God Save, but it's really quiet, quick pop tunes, more a template for 1/2 Jap than anything else. I did find out that Frederick Bartholme, the author, used to play with them. He's the brother of one of the best metafiction authors, Donald Bartholme.

Dog Faced Hermans— Hum of Life
God, I had no idea. I have an Ex singles comp and thought of them as kinda bland political hardcore, but this side project from the mid-'80s is fucking fantastic. Skronk sax, post-punk bass, yelping, cooing. Yes! Have to get more.

Dead C— Trapdoor Fucking Exit
I've been curious about these noise folks for a while, and liked the album a lot. Fairly flush and drony, but well-balanced. I'll have to give it a few more spins to sink in.

Asa-Chang & Junray— Jun Ray Sung Chang
Asa-Chang is apparently the #1 tabla player in Japan, an honor that no doubt makes his parents very proud. In addition to being the studio musician to call if you're recording in Japan and need tablas, he also has released a couple of solo albums of him and electronic programming. Odd, open and spacy, I've put the song Hana on mixes before and really enjoy the sparse percussion married to the heavily treated vocals.

Animal Collective- Sung Tongs
Animal Collective- Feels
I could only hear so much hype about this band before breaking down and erm... burning their record from 'CBN. Why? Because while I had heard plenty of things that intrigued me (like comparisons to psych workouts from the '60s and Faust), I mostly heard them from jerks who only like indie rock. I've listened to Feels and enjoyed the first half a lot, and by the middle was wishing that I'd actually paid for the album and bought it sooner, but then the second half of the album was pretty boring. Maybe my high was wearing off. I'll get to Sung Tongs later.

Sly and the Family Stone— There's A Riot Goin' On
Sly's dark and drugged out album seemed to be a good enough place to start, and I like it a lot. I can see how it might be disappointing for fans, as it's a lot denser than some of the other stuff I've heard from him, and it does rework a fair amount of material that he'd already recorded, but I've liked it on first listen. I'll give it another shot later.

Dr. John— Gris Gris
Really, just look a little below. I already covered this. Jeez.

The Ethiopians— Stay Loose
Amy's parents wanted some reggae because they're going to Jamaica for vacation. Well, I don't really like much reggae (though I like a lot of dub), as the production tends to be bright and cheesy, and I had too much Bob Marley in the home growing up. But it meant raiding my dad's collection, and so I picked up this and a couple other albums that I vagely remembered being good. I know that somewhere, there's supposed to be a good African Head Charge album, but I keep finding the mediocre hit and miss ones.

Broadcast— Tender Buttons
Another album that I had heard about with psych and krautrock overtones. Except that this one sounds like a glitchy Stereolab, which is OK, I guess, but kinda boring for a full album.

Guru Guru— UFO
Now, this is what I'm talking about. Huge, explosive krautrock with a fuzzy feeling. I'll listen to this more in a bit.

Jay Dee— Welcome to Detroit
I'd been meaning to pick up more from Jay Dee, including the new Doughnuts album. Then he died. Ahh well. Great production album, you can tell that Jay Dee really took a lot from Prince Paul, but some of the rhymes are weak. Still, a lot of fun.

Magma— Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh
Fuckin' prog frogs, with their choirs and their rounds. Good stuff. A lot like Gong, which makes sense.

Slick Rick— The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
His first and best solo album, apparently. Kind of a disappointment, especially because I didn't look to see if La-Di-Da-Di was on there, which is my favorite track from him. Still, some good stuff (Child's Story), some stuff that'd be good if it weren't so fucking misogynist (Treat Her Like A Prostitute, Indian), and some stuff that's just boring. Ahh well, they can't all be perfect.

Delorean— some ep that I forget the title of
Apparently Delorean are usually an alt-country band, but these are mostly remixes that dance it up. Decent stuff, and I'll give it another listen later. Hopefully, I can figure out exactly what it is...

Disco Inferno— DI Go Pop
Along with Dog Faced Hermans and Six Finger Satellite, I really dig this album a lot. It's in Amy's car now, otherwise I'd be playing it. Described by the 'CBN review as "boring Kraftwerk-meets-Blur," it's lucky that I had already been looking for it otherwise I would have missed a great album. Too bad the reviewer had no frame of reference outside of those two, as it's really a lot closer to post punk or a poppier version of 6FS.

There are a few more, but I can't lay my hands on 'em right now. And soon enough, I'll update this with music from these albums. Lemme know if there's anything you're curious about.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dr. John

What I like about Gris Gris, an album that I'm listening to for the second time right now, is how spacious the arrangement is for all that's packed in there. The drums are spaced back, and while there is often more than one melody line running, they rarely step on each other. It's a direct antidote to the compressed sound of a lot of rock, especially rock from the last 10-15 years.

I like how open this all sounds, and how weird it gets. I've grown up with Dr. John as one of those canonical figures that I never really get around to listening to, but can pluck from midair without expending any energy. He's turned into a phone-it-in type, who if I recall without thinking I have a hard time telling from Wolfman Jack.

Another part of why Gris Gris feels so successful is that Dr. John stays the hell out of most of it, or at least his voice does. It's so distinctive that it's like tumeric or cardemom, exotic and instantly recognizable but something that requires a fair amount of dish around it to make worth eating. The weakest moments, then, are ones like "Jump Sturdy," which is lots of John and some backing singers. The best moments are ones like "Danse Fambeaux," a roiling swamp of flutes and bongos, ehtereal voices and funk bass. It's something that if done by lesser musicians, like jam bands or even Dr. John later on, would be fucking interminable.

But instead, it's spacy and relaxed and has the feeling of somewhere dark and moist.

What it makes me think of is the difference between swamps in the North and swamps in the South. Most of Michigan is fucking swampland, or was before it was drained, and swamps here bring to mind the clammy feeling of a dead hand or the sweats you get after vomiting, on your way to shivering. The swamps in the South feel fecund, lush and rich. Sure, there are horrible animals that will kill you with poisons that make you feverish and the blood explode from your eye sockets, and if you die you'll be either eaten or rotted under in a day, but they also feel like out of control fertility. I remember once standing on the side of a road, next to the rusted-out hulk of a car, taking a piss. While I was standing there, the kudzu that I was knee deep in clung to my jeans and felt like the grasping invasion of alien vegetation.

That's what Gris Gris makes me think of.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We all know Dick Cheney has a soft spot for the rock of the Upper Midwest. Four brief selections from his huge collection, reflecting his current state of mind— Or 'Dick Cheney's Ann Arbor EP'

All My Friends Must Be Punished by The Dirtbombs

Beast with a Gun by Animal

Shotgun Cain by Dabenport

Boom Bang by Cornish in a Turtleneck.

Anyone got any others?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Re: The Blind Pig schedule

Is it just me, or does Duncan Sheik sound like a yuppie condom?

Six months in a leaky boat


Have you seen these guys? They're fantastic.
Every month two themed mixes presented one track at a time, one of intro material and one for the crate diggers. It's a thing of beauty, really. This month's been New Zealand, and I've found new love for those kiwi bastards.

For example, I saw The Clean opening for Yo La Tengo, but never really delved deeper. Mixotheque has made me curious enough to make a trip to the used store. And while there's no Radio Birdman (a favorite around these parts), I did cop a couple tracks for Amy's Valentine's Day mix off of there. Shh. She doesn't want to know that I break copyright law to win her love.

But, like the Priest played backwards sez: "Do it, do it..."

Monday, February 13, 2006


Huntington Ashram Monastery is the last one of the classic Alice Coltrane albums that hasn't been reissued on CD. The middle of her Monastic trio ("A Monastic Trio," HAM, "Ptah, the El Daoud"), this is the type of music that I love, that I grew up with.

I'll probably write a bit more about it later, as my computer's having issues now.

(Jeez, it's been quiet here lately).

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Indie pop, like you love...

I'm in a dreamy indie pop mood today. What can I say? Maybe I've reached that certain age...

No. 1 Fan was Majesty Crush's best single, arguably. It's odd to think of them as an Ann Arbor band, but they were, back when the early '90s were full of dreamy Anglophilia. I really feel for those bands that existed on the alternative scene before grunge exploded, sucking the rest of the air from the room. Still, this wafting bit of confection is a pretty good testament to the band. Today we have Wolf Eyes and Saturday Looks Good To Me. Then we had Majesty Crush and Big Chief.

I also dug out a sampler from Pop Culture Press; their first, in fact, from 2006. The Great Summer Pop sampler included a couple of tracks that I haven't seen elsewhere and that heralded great things for the mag. Tracks like Snowly by Boyracer, which is really excellent strummed pop (and a sound that I don't think many pop bands today have surpassed like you might have expected). Also included was Irrigation Man by Spoon, off of the All The Negatives ep that I don't think is still in print. Shame, really. This, along with a mixtape from a co-worker and finding their first album for $3(!!!) at Encore within a week of its release made me a fan. Sure, they've hit on thinner times (I didn't think Gimme Fiction was all that good), but they've got a fairly decent store of excellent albums. The last track that I'm gonna feature from the sampler was one that ended up being the source of a lot of disappointment: Cherry Bomb by Magnapop. It's this fantastic girlpop burner, replete with a great hook and sharp drums, but a) despite being promised as included on their album, it was available as an import only track, and b) the actual album kinda blew. Tuscadero wiped the floor with 'em then... But still, Cherry Bomb is a favorite of mine still, especially on mixtapes where I lay it in right next to Joan Jett's congruently titled (though quite different) song.

And the final track? Well, the girlfriend and I saw this movie called Hard Rock Zombies, featuring a band called Holy Moses. Apparently, there's a German band with the same name, but that's not them (and Holy Moses is only their name in the movie. The band was actually called Silent Rage, one of the dumbest buttrock names ever). Through the magic of the internet, someone had ripped the tracks, including the Satanic chant recorded on 4-track that turns everyone into hard rock zombies. The quality's poor, and the song is goofy, but here you go: Morte Ascendere (which isn't just the title, but also the whole words to the song).


Not a day goes by when a commentor doesn't ask me for insanely limited releases of Boredoms acetates. Well, not really. I'd bet that even most hardcore Boredoms fans haven't heard these. Tracked down and ripped by a fanatic on ILM, here are four songs from The Boredoms that were made on Eye's home vinyl cutting machine, which he bought at a flea market.
Handily served up as a .sitx archive, here they are:

More info here.

Side A1— Car ABC; Eat Is Anarchy
Side A2— Surfing JahJah
Side B1— Surfin' Bird
Side B2— I Am Johnny Rotten

Unfortunately, I think that instead of Surfin' Bird, it's actually a cassette-only track called "inc boretronix 2 side 2," so that's what I've got it labelled as.

All of the tracks are noisy (duh), and kinda hissy. This is before the Boredoms found their krautrock groove, and they tend to go more for punky start-stop stuff that reminds me of Prehensile Monkeytail Skink, a band on Bulb records. Out of all of them, Car ABC seems to have the most going for it as a cohesive song, and I think it's my favorite. Surfin' Jah seems to be mostly bursts of noise tossed together through tape splicing, and is OK. I Am Johnny Rotten sounds like The Boredoms doing hair metal, and comes out about like you'd expect.
Only 20 copies of these singles were pressed, so if you're curious, this is your best shot.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Destroyer's Rubies

This is the first album I've heard from this band, which includes sometimes New 'Nogs writer Dan Bejar. Good stuff, mostly, and one that should appeal to the larger shambling ensemble fans (especially of folks like the Great Lakes Myth Society or Descent of the Holy Ghost Church). It's also a veritable clinic for large bands who need more melody lines in their ensemble arrangements (I'm looking at you, Canada). Sophisticated, springy and light, the album is fun to listen to, though I don't know if the insane hype (see ILX boards for pronouncements of "timeless classic," which, you know, usually at least wait until it's released) is justified. But really, I kinda hope that it won't hamstring the release, as it's solid and worth buying.

Here's a track that reminds me a lot of a Giant Sand song called 'Yr Ropes.' (In fact, the whole album reminds me a lot of that period of Giant Sand, though it may just be because Bejar's voice is similar).
Destroyer's 'Your Blood'

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Keep your head down

Luckily, the RIAA doesn't bother coming around here. I mean, I get 10 views on an average day!
So, here's not only something that's leaked, but then screwed with (derivative work?).

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs got Diplo to remix their first single, Gold Lion, for their new album. Problem? It sounds all chipmunky, really. So what happens at -8?
Listen for yourself. (Sounds to me like classic Madonna, really). Much better than the faster "official" version.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Like Roger Daltry Says

"Whoooooo are you! Whoo-oo oo-oo!"

I really wanna know.

Some garagy muffin or another singing a song called "Five past 12" which is really excellent. I know it's from around Ann Arbor/Detroit or a band that played here in the last couple months, and it's not the High Strung.

I'm not Lisa

Scratch Acid has announced a reunion. What does that mean? I dunno. Want some Killdozer?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Feel the Zeigeist!

The Knife are one of my favorite new pop bands, and on their latest album while the last track is credited to them, it's actually a band called Zeigeist. The song is F as in Knife. And I like it, but just try listening to it and then listening to Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush.
Hopefully Ms. Bush's check is in the mail.

From the 7" file

Gondolier: High C Idiot Note b/w New #11 (Makoto, date unknown)

The a side takes its title from a David Foster Wallace line, and is some fine emo, if I do say so. Petulant, minor key, chugging along... It actually sounds a lot like Crush, Kill, Destroy, who was also on Makoto, though they don't seem to share any members. The b side has even more of the CKD feeling, as it sounds like the bastard child of Slint and Nada Surf.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

From the 7" file

Slide Off Saturn: Alien Convention + Strap on Love Sheep b/w Pauline and Redeemer (Prozak & Tonic Records, date unknown)

While the a side is kind of boring '90s Melvins-ish rock, the b side is a sprawling Sonic Youthy wash of feedback and dreamy lyrics. Clocking in at 18:36, it's a little pinched sounding on the 7", but still a fantastic find. Pick it up if you see it, since it'll probably be in a cheap vinyl bin.

How'd you get here?

The best part about SiteMeter is reading the referrals. Some searches that have led you here:

"Fred Thomas"+"Big Ten Burrito" [FIRST RESULT!!]

with+child+fuck gives you Jansen's comment. I'm on the second page, five down. What the fuck could someone have been looking for?

Dave+Mason+Torrents. Not here, I'm afraid. Who's Dave Mason?

And the ABSOLUTE BEST SEARCH: are white folks inbred albinos?

Yes, yes they are. Thank you for letting me solve that for you.

From the 7" file

I grabbed a bunch of random 7"s from the office, stuff we've had lying around forever, but since I'm the only one with a record player (what the fuck?), it falls to me to review it, so I'll be doing that off and on. These will probably be the only mentions on the entire internet of these albums...

Marlon Cherry: 970-Jack b/w Hope (Fang Records, 1996)

There are two notable things about 970-Jack and its b side: The first is how Marlon Cherry pretty well predicted the ongoing funk-rock hybrid that's still at least moderately popular today (311). The second thing is that even though it's a 33rpm 7", it sounds infintely better at 45 rpm, taking a fairly benign power funk ballad and turning it into an insane burner. Shame about the chipmunk vocals, but that's life.


To: The people who went to the Feist show at the Blind Pig on Tuesday
Re: The Feist show

Where the fuck are you people when any local band plays the Pig? You're all well-dressed, and obviously care about somewhat hip music.

Are you in Detroit? If so, I can understand that. I don't drive down there very often for shows, and I can't expect you to come out here. Especially when the weather is shitty.

But Jesus, the "shush" when she comes on? It's a fucking bar, you pansies. And gawd, what flouncers you are.
Her voice is good, I'll give you that. But the band is mediocre, the songs are boring, the lyrics are cliché (if they were just a little more emotionally cloying, I'd make a "foist" dig). The most interesting thing is the amount of DAT overdub to allow studio sounds into a minimal set.
But then she's hassling the audience! Fuck you, Feist, you have to earn the right to rag on us standing at the back. You can't just assume that because you've got a face that most male hipsters see when they come that you're at the level where you can berate your audience. Just because these sycophants enjoy it doesn't mean it's right.

It is like being in another world there, and all of the people in the audience seem like better looking versions of my friends. Or at least better looking versions of people at the Hard Lessons show. My straight friends would still probably fit in, even though they'd be the ugliest ones there.

(A jot in the notebook: Maybe I'll regret this someday, but it's more fun to write about people here than to listen to the music.)

And c'mon, Feist, "How are you doing, Ann Arbor?" Might as well "Cleveland, are you ready to rock?" And describing the opening musician as a "master of the low flow guitar solo"? DOes that mean he positively flushes with talent?

(Another jot: I think my girlfriend and I shouldn't get married because my last name is really long and her parents might give her shit if she doesn't take it. Man, that's a mental thought to have. God, it's hard to focus on the band.)

The last song proves that she really does do better with the big ensemble rhythm section behind her, though she veers into jam band territory. And she didn't even play my favorite song, the one that made me think she might be worth catching: Inside Out. (which is great, by the way).

Ah well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Curious about Arabic Music?

I am. Well, to some extent. I'd like to find weird psych or noise or rock stuff, which I know must be happening somewhere, but for the pop stuff: "Mazikana lets me delve in without the erm... trouble of buying anything. Relaxed view of the copyright, they take, dontchaknow. Sure, the webmaster'll probably get their hands cut off sometime soon, but what's that in the way of me getting new music for free?

Anyone out there wanna delve in and lemme know what's the best?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Tonight... Classics in Internet Mentalism.

From the comments, down the page:

fuck you. thanks for the pathetic "i have no idea what i'm talking about write-up". you're right, we are just like great lakes myth society, except i'm going to fuck you in your mouth. you are impossible. also, my space is very very logical. you are a child in a puppet's body. correction (yes, this is for dramatic effect), you are a child.
fuck off (forever and ever),
jansen p. swy
the descent of the holy ghost church

From email (and someone else):

hello i just wanted to respond to "dose ann arbor need
any more garage bands,we have the avtars.well no we
dont because they all suck!the avatars are
shit.chris'box'taylor is the biggest asshole jerk i
have ever met.i my self an a guitarist and play heavy
metal and would notplay the clubs,because i rather get
i woul hate to be 30 somthing and be in a local band
think in cool for you mr.stechmann you looke
like a compleat jerk and whom i would say have little
to go.
sincerly christin j.smith

My favorite part of this missive, this (if I may be Donovan) Epistle from Dippy? "Compleat." It feels like I'm being flamed by Shakespeare.

After a terse 'Good luck with that, Ace,' and vague notions that A&R men love people who don't play out, I get back:

ya send demo's i dont have a band im solo.the local
clubs suck and i rather sit at home and watch paint
dry .as 4 my spelling i type to fast but u i hope u
and the rest of the ann arbor local band get kicked in
the ass
i hope you all what s comung to you a kick in the
balls i spit on you and your crew fuck you and that
child molester box

How awesome is this? He thinks I have a CREW!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

No way is this real

Michael Jackson's "Give Thanks to Allah (via here).

By the way, on the subject of the "via", I'm what you'd call Fake Jewery. Everyone assumes I'm of the chosen people, but I'm not really. So if any of you legit yids out there can tell me what the name of the page is, or even translate some, it seems to be a pretty decent mp3 blog...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

It's elsewhere too...

From a leak on the ILM forums: Britney Spears and DFA.

The demo's rough, with Brit doin' some "la la love you" stuff over the crunchy DFA beat #5. Still, even as an artifact, it's pretty interesting. Give it a listen (it'll be gone in a flash, I'd imagine).
The word from the record company? "Too hip" in a rueful voice. The word from DFA? Brit didn't bring a thing to the sessions, and they usually work by listening to music with the artists they're producing. Spears knew nothing of the bands they were into, and didn't offer anything herself, so it's unlikely that this will get an official release or that DFA will do more work with her.