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.