Thursday, January 2, 2014

i like year-end lists. i learn a lot from them, oftentimes, and it's fun to hear other people talk about stuff they love instead of the usual bullshit, gossip, and negativity. but i'm just not very good at 'em, cuz 1. i'd hafta write over a period of two weeks or so, constantly revising (like john cusack in 'high fidelity' when he does that top 5 for the paper) to get at anywhere NEAR everything and 2. i have no idea what was released or filmed or recorded or written this past year, nor do i care. i have a decent idea of what i personally found out about, tho', so here's a little list of that, musicwise, in no particular order, done in as much time as it takes to look around my bedroom and type.

pygmy shrews you people can all go straight to hell mocnik grabbed this for me and it's taking its premier spin on the turntable as we speak. more worthy of being on wantage than the egyptian and i think i like it even better than that supremely focused mess. harkens back to the killer house-show days of the mid-'90s while being anything but retro and taking a fair amount of those bands to the cleaners. of course they've now broken up.

primitive calculators the world is fucked one of my fave tracks ever is their weirdo let's-leave-the-vocal-off version of "pumping ugly muscle" on the dogs in space sdtk but man oh man oh man oh man on their very first long player this long-defunct aussie postpunk destruction unit fucking pulls it ALL out. this thing burns like nothing else - the ugly and glorious newer faust stuff even pales in comparison. whitehouse without all the stoopid schlocky hatespeech, and a fair bit of actual chops. recommended for everyone - the world would be a better place if this took avril levigne's place on racks at targets everywhere.

lorde pure heroine of course as with all pop musick i heard "royals" first at a drag show but the story behind this record is as great as the record itself, which balances familiar modern-pop melodies with honest production, heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting and a somewhere-between-indie-and-top-40 vibe. earworms everywhere and nothing so cringe-inducing as to make one run for the needle. beyoncé should've taken note.

nymph new millenium prayer i am now even more pissed that i missed them over 100 years ago at carbar since this lp is nigh-on effin' perfecto. hippie bleeps and bloops trade back and forth with free skronk, both overlayed with yoko wails of the highest caliber; droney jams encompassing riffs on every era since their invention focus and unfocus into a plethora of other modes and styles - but strikingly, nymph never lose their identity. magnificent, beautiful, & inspiring.

anna ranger swimming and crawling over 1000 years ago freddie free gave me a cd of this full-band studio session, and the lp is finally out. the mastering is SUPERB - it may seem like a no-brainer that the vinyl sounds better than a cdr but that's so often not the case, and this one is particularly gorgeous. for those uninitiated, anna ranger mine jangly, morose, dancy territory that wouldn't make them outta place on factory, sarah, or even merge records, but their incredibly sporadic show and release schedule (and now the fact that they live in different towns) keeps them from getting a fraction of the attention they deserve. a truly original take on seemingly threadbare musical and lyrical themes that's so personal at the same time it's so detached…just an all-around beautiful thing. i'm glad we've got 'em, even as rarely as we do.

jessie j "price tag (shux remix)" the album she released this past year is fantastic but it's this older single that spent the most time blasting out of every speaker i had access to. the original is a surprisingly fresh version of an overused modern melody and structure ("umbrella", et al.) with unintentionally ironic lyrics, and is a great song in its own right, but the remix replaces all the duffy-isms with booming mid-range rock drums and brostep wub-wubs and slays everything in its path. cyndi lauper of the now (as if the woman herself isn't).

christian prommer drumlesson zwei some kinda worldwide percussion maestro is our mister christian but hell if i knew that, i just thought this looked interesting for eight bucks at halfprice. and interesting it is. other side of the dawn of midi coin, an acoustic attempt at covering electronic numbers, and whether yr familiar with the originals or not, this is one great listen that's not gonna grow old anytime soon. which brings us to…

dawn of midi dysnomia album of the year. some of the band's talk of leaving rhythmic space to be filled in by yr consciousness or whatever is a little less than fully realised but that doesn't change the fact that a band in fucking 2013 - an IMPROV JAZZ band! - made one of the most crucial, riveting, mind-blowing and mind-numbing compositions OF ALL TIME EVER. more krautrock than krautrock, more minimal than minimal, you couldn't handle this on strong acid. but give it a try.

misfits meet the nutley brass vinyl reissue with two bonus tracks. if you don't know what this one is, what the fuck are you doing here??

the points s/t the real sex bob-omb, the times new viking that's worth listening to for more than a track or two, i'm yet to hear ANYONE shouting about the points outside my own personal bubble but as if that's ever been a condemnation of any particular groop's badassery…

i am the center '80s-centric 3lp comp of mostly independently-produced new age musicks. constance demby was the only person i'd heard of glancing at the tracklisting at the shop (yes, someone bothered to order this in - thanks steve!). excellent in-depth booklet, fantastic sequencing - and tho' i was worried a little that three records would hardly be enough to provide a decent overview of a music that leans so often in an extendo direction (and maybe, indeed it isn't - i can only imagine what else is out there based on other stuff i have that didn't make the cut), i'm incredibly pleased with this comp far above and beyond the fact that anyone would even bother to do it in the first place.

the lees of memory "we are siamese" b/w "open your arms" perhaps they'll just keep writing songs with already-used titles but who gives a toss when they're this fucking crucial. the two guitars in superdrag reconvene to write only shoegaze songs (yes. yes they did.) and the results are STAGGERING. (perhaps you see what i did there.)

puerto rico flowers 2, 4, 7 pretty much the find of the year, bandwise, for me - kevin from pink reason mentioned them in passing and after tracking their stuff down they've rarely left the player. (apologies in advance for the five or six songs i've written that completely rip them off.) proof that the speed of the music doesn't dictate the emotional intensity, and an argument that ripping off cure synth lines can actually sometimes work.

radon picked up the little 45 book at autonomy's house and eventually found my own copy. tracked down the reunion lp and some of the older stuff (on youtube)…damn. DAMN. DAMN DAMN. naked raygun and mid-period gov't issue have an unholy post-embrace/pre-getupkids boychild in gainesville - but the coup here isn't the fine musical line they tread so expertly, it's the way the records, whether you have any history with them whatsoever, provide such a sense of place - it's as if the music itself is hollowed out and filled with indian summer post-show somehow-you-can-gloss-over-all-the-weirdness-and-oof-of-yr-teenage-years-and-just-vibe-on-the-eerie-good-stuff voodoo. somebody KEEP THIS SHIT IN PRINT WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU?

matias aguayo ay, ay, ay totally THE find of my last trip to other music, a predominantly beat-boxed (if you will) "techno" album that's as life-affirming as anything ever cut to wax. "rollerskate" is my track, currently. look it up.

helm silencer ep far less ambient than other stuff i've heard of his, gnarly samples get even more gnarled (reportedly) by a gnarly four-track and loop into oblivion. one of those productions that is so damn gratifying and disorienting that you can't even get jealous about it.

katy perry prism far from perfect, but easily the pop album of the year. weird, big tribal drums all over the first side and EVERYONE else in pop needs to take a page outta katy's book of lyric-writing. miley and the aforementioned beyoncé, we really are listening, it really does matter, and yr shit lyrical content is ruining otherwise-decent records. STEP IT UP OR AT LEAST OVER.

the creatures hai! in which siouxsie and budgie actually make an entirely percussion-based album again, instead of the location-specific jet-set alterna-whatever of the last two. as i always say, if it takes a kodo drummer to make yr music vital again, GET THE KODO DRUMMER…

mary ocher and your government "man v. air" she has but one song so far with this double-drummer project and already i've put it on three mixtapes. keep an eye out for wherever she takes it.

vacation candy waves lp+45 i've come to terms with the differences between vacation's full-body-assault live shows and their sizzly, over-reverbed recordings, tho' it has helped that their records just keep getting better. honestly, though, it doesn't matter how songs this fucking good are presented. special mention to their shellshag cover on the shitty city 7" - a gleaming highlight of their recent live shows.

crooked bangs crooked bangs dunno why a group from austin revels in such spirited gloom or sings in french half the time, nor do i care. best atmospherics this side of…

mother of fire feral children where one song ends and another begins is beside the point, which makes this album's similarity to their last a non-issue. if anything, this one's a little more…unnerving, tho' no-one would ever've accused MoF of being a relaxation aid, all drones aside. a better amalgamation of ease and unsease, rough and smooth, i doubt any of us'll ever find.

and lastly (for now), my long-delayed realisation that st. vincent, regina spektor, & kimbra are totally worth listening to was trumped only by the discovery that a thousand commercials on youtube can't overpower the butterfly-inducing greatness of THIS:

"brave" live in atlanta

• • •

there's other stuff. but gimme two weeks to edit it in. hahahaha…

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Vels 'Velocity' LP + Dub Mixes

inevitably i'm gonna grab any record like this - early '80s copyright//never heard of the band//major label//new wavey artwork//etc - outta the dollarbin and at least throw it on the listening station to see if it's worth the buck; tons o' this type o' stuff gets thrown back but by the third track this one was sounding so much like my good good philly friends SWEATHEART that i had to take it home and give it a real spin. imagine my surprise at finding that these here vels were also from philly! terribly fun and original more-straight-'80s-than-new-wave sounds from 1984 here with no crummy ballads to skip. really shines when both the guy(s) and girl start singin' together. ran across the two singles they released off this rec while in nyc recently so the dubs off those are also included!

you're a treasure chest

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

54•40 'Selection' & 'Set The Fire'

early in highschool my pal meschel and i useta fully geek out on stuff like "harborcoat" by r.e.m. and "cartoon" by soul asylum and anything else we could find with crazy vocal harmonies. she always tried to sell me on 54•40 but somehow it never stuck. this past week i dug out a mixtape i made back in probably tenth grade with a bunch of my favorite stuff on it (including the aforementioned r.e.m. & soul asylum tunes), which is probably pretty similar to the 9,000,000 tapes i made for her back then, so i started thinkin' about 54•40 and my now-biennial attempt to give a shit about 'em. last time i got what i thought was their first lp (1986's self-titled deal on reprise) in the dollar bin i ignored it for like 18 months so i decided against that route and turned on the computer; SADLY, the internet doesn't seem to care either, but i managed to find some crap mono videos on youtube (not helping, dudes), which thankfully led me to a live film of them doing something called "jamming with lawrence" much earlier in their career (judging from the haircuts). the difference between this embryonic stage of the band and their later-'80s drivin' & cryin' (another fave of meschel's) phase is stunning - it seems like they followed a path not unlike their neighbors here on this blog, dancing hoods. this early stuff (a mini-lp and an lp) is way more bass guitar-driven and shares a whole lot more with early-'80s aussie and athens (GA) stuff than anything else: fantastically repetitive and mesmerizing, but with a decent nod towards big music. i reckon people into stuff like chameleons uk and the sound, as well as NZ stuff like the gordons, will dig this too. this is really blowing my mind, and since it was a little bit of a trial to dig this stuff up, i'm puttin' it here for you.

i can bring on anything from nowhere

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Odd Numbers 'About Time' cassette

back in the late '80s/early '90s we useta watch a few skate videos on full loop and the new deal promo video was one of 'em. like the speed freaks vid, new deal went full "hey is there a label around here that will loan us all their shit?" and ended up with pretty much all 819 productions bands in the vid. thus, a soundtrack composed about 85% of odd numbers tunes. and, just like how we all ran out and bought dinosaur and leaving trains and fIREHOSE tapes after hearing them in santa cruz videos 9000 times, i ended up writing to 819 and getting them to send me the odd numbers tape. still got a rad signed b&w 8x10 too! anyhow, if you haven't seen the new deal video 800 times i'm sorry for you, but i guarantee you'll still be blown away by this tape. mod-revival-revival of the highest order - and this comin' from a guy who couldn't really care less about the jam or the who. clean, catchy-as-hell action pop in a league with the revelers, for serious. and if you're here 'cause you're a greying grom like me, be sure to go checkout the bones brigade video tunes disc elsewhere on this here site.

and now we're oh so happy

Monday, February 25, 2013

Garage Days Pre-Visited

so here's something i've seen attempted - sadly with usually ill results - that i've long-meant to go ahead and put together myself: a comp of original versions of tunes the metallicats covered and (officially) released up thru the 'rubaiyat' comp. one guy threw together some youtube videos, which is neat, sure, and another gal put a buncha 128kbps mp3s in a folder, which is, well, ok, but if indeed yer like me and would like some hi-q mp3s with their volumes matched all ready for your walkman or whatever well here ya go! from the "creeping" 12" to the 'garage' ep to the "harvester" CD5 and the aforementioned 'rubaiyat' comp, ten (or so…) killer originals taken from the best sources i could find - no assy re-recordings, no funky bootleg sound quality. **caveat: for me there's a real line after "stone cold" that i chose to also draw here, so i didn't try to remake the 'inc' record - even tho as always our heroes could sure pick a tune (even if they couldn't do it justice [no pun] there after awhile anymore). even the motörhead stuff - tho cool - has a different vibe since it was a rehearsal and not just them bangin' out an old fave or two for b-sides and eps. a case could be made for the sweet savage tune, but rules is rules for some reason - and that would open up a whole can o' worms where i'd hafta listen to that fucking anti-nowhere league tune, which i'm simply not prepared to do, hahahaha… anyhow, i guess what i'm sayin' is, after 'justice' i just didn't pay much attention to what they were doin', so it's only their covers up thru then that have ever been stuck in my head to the point where i've just gotta hear the original. (tho certainly do yerself a favor and go listen to discharge and mercyful fate, etc, for surely. OH, and WATCH THIS VIDEO, it's the most made-totally-exactly-for-beavis-and-butthead video of all time.)

budgie up yer ass!

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Port Of Suez" Exotic Music From The Middle East

at one point i had literally dozens of '50s cash-in 'exotica' records and tho most of them were either meh or awful (great sleeves across th board, tho) there are a few (like anything by the bizarre belgian surf band the waikikis) that really rise head'n'shoulders™ above th rest, which brings us to this here lp, th only representative of th aforementioned dozens still holding a place in my crates. th reason? about half th tracks sound like fucking sandy bull. no lie. complete with direct-line fusion to yr limbic system, just like j. lethem sez. anyhow th rest of it is great too, as is th proliferous amt of surface noise you'll find on this particular copy. a few words from an exhaustive crown records archivist:

CLP-5085/CST-119 stereo - Port of Suez: Exotic Music of the Middle East - (Artist not identified) [1958] Original stereo copies issued on red vinyl. Another interesting look into the practices of the budget record companies in the late 1950s. Much of this LP also appeared on Coronet 55 (The Music of Port Said credited to Mohammed El-Sulieman & His Oriental Ensemble), Broadway 1027 (East of Suez, artist unidentified), and Pirouette 16 (Music of the Near East credited to Ali Beirut's Orchestra). The Coronet, Broadway, and Pirouette albums play exactly the same. Titles on the Coronet and Broadway LPs are identical (Temptacious/Whirling Sands/Jazz Of Araby/Chifti/Hora//Owo Solo/Hasapiko Bolero/Husson's Rhapsody/International Dance/Cosmopolitan). Although the Pirouette LP plays the same, the song titles differ (Near East/Romance Of The Fiddle/Drums Of The Desert/Call Of The Near East/Desert Dance Madness//Cosmopolitan Whirl/Exotic Dance/Night Love/Temptation Of The Desert Sun And Moon/Whirling Sand). This Crown album has some tracks that are the same and some that are not on the other albums, but they sound like the same orchestra and recording session. Titles on the Crown album, with references in brackets to the songs on the other LPs, are: Stardust At Dawn ["Whirling Sands"/"Romance of the Fiddle"]/Warm Wind [instrumental version of "Hora"/"Desert Dance Madness"]/Dancing Girls [not on the other LPs]/Suez ["Jazz Of Araby"/"Drums Of The Desert"]/Sand Dunes ["Cosmopolitan"/"Whirling Sand"]//Night Madness [instrumental version of "Temptacious"/"Near East"]/Summer Rain ["Hasapiko Bolero"/"Exotic Dance"]/Harem Girls [not on other LPs]/Rebel Camp [not on other LPs]/Desert Caravan ["Owo Solo"/"Cosmopolitan Whirl"].

nigh-on perfect.


Friday, July 6, 2012

My Summer 'Catch Fire' +

for quite awhile in th mid-aughts i worked sound at a failing off-campus bar that mighta-coulda dug itself outta th hole it had so royally swandived into had th owner not been so addicted to pay-to-play local hiphop showcases and battles of th suburban metal bands, but, those horrors aside, we managed to have quite a few excellent shows that no one showed up to (like city streets, who absolutely killed and, i'm sure, will never, ever visit our town again), and quite a few outta th blue surprises as well (like th time black tie revue showed up to find they were on one of those battles of th bands, as mentioned elsewhere on this here blog). i don't remember how new york's my summer came to play th bar, but they were SO effin' great - ultra chimey strat lines leading choppy, way-catchy tunes that always stayed exquisitely well on th good side of th line between semi-complex pop & wretched emo played by three dudes obviously having th time of their lives and throwing everything they had into it. a cursory google glance reveals that th band is still functional as of this writing and, lo and behold, maintain a bandcamp as well as a facebook page. my summer mine their very own corner of a somewhat well-worn landscape, so tho' they aren't all that reminiscent of anything, if smoking popes, cheap girls, and th post-jawbreaker, pre-get up kids era of forgotten pop-punk like superstar rookie wet yr proverbial panties (and i can't see why they wouldn't), check these dudes out. there's also something vaguely michale graves-y about th sorta crooned vox that i can't ever get enough of. actually th closest thing i can think of would be if you somehow morphed matt and dan from alkaline trio's voices into one.

fact section: file contains an ep (2005) and th following 2006 full-length, 'catch fire'.