Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Broonies “Love’s Sanitarium”

(http://aaronfreifeld.bandcamp.com/) No-fi swoony teenage garage pop that is rough and raw and pretty and pretty strange. The Brooniest record I’ve heard this year.

Hotchacha/Summer People “Do it”

 (Exit Stencil) Hotchacha continue their hotness with a quartet of songs that includes the hard hitting  “Aorist,” their h-h-h-ottest yet, a better 90s song than the 90s songs it sounds like. Summer People add some weird math to the most demented Birthday Party murder songs sounds, and it’s frighteningly pleasant.

The Movements “Follow"

(Teen Sound) Old and recent, rare and unreleased, awesome and awesomer tracks of rollicking, rocking Swedish psyche that’s meant to move you. You don’t have to be drunk, blonde, on mushrooms, or of Viking blood to appreciate this. But it wouldn’t hurt.

Brontosaurus “Cold Comes to Claim”

(www.brontosaurusmusic.com) Cabaret grunge music that would take a pea-sized brain 230 million years to wrapped itself around, and it would likely involve some meat-eating to deliver these chops, so not the most accurate band name. But one of the coolest.

Thomas Comerford “Archive + Spiral”

(Spacesuit Records) If he didn’t cover Velvet Underground, Comerford’s moody, resonant flat-voiced story song heartwrenchers would have made me forget Lou Reed altogether.

Company “Holy City”

(Exit Stencil) Not bad at all, so it’s a good thing these South Carolinians are not called Bad Company, but these flatly sung yet emotionally wrought lo-fi tunes that evoke a maudlin Guided By Voices or even mid-career Wilco on downers suggest maybe they could be called Sad Company.

HB3 “Magic Circles”,” “Poseidon: Fantasia For Picolo Bass”

(www.hb3.com) “Magic Circles” is a thrillingly exhaustive, interstellar, electronic-exploratory prog workout that somehow shakes our all of prog rock’s douchiness (HB3 even magically maintains non-bullshit status while printing an accompanying chapbook of “Magic Circles” lyrics as poetry). More impressive is the moody “Poseidon” album, an epic instrumental soundtrack to a moody aquatic fable that sounds both sadly sub-aquatic and soaringly high at the same time.

Chris Ligon and the Problems “This is Your Night”

(Clang!) First of all: GENIUS! Second of all: I, historically, have a pretty low standard for genius (i.e: guy who did voiceovers in Morris the Cat commercials…genius! Rappin’ Duke…genius!). That said, I have forever been captivated with the specific way Ligon twangs it up, incorporating Opry/Hee Haw style humor, but then subverting country music’s clever wordplay tradition by injecting absurdity, jazz, cabaret aesthetics, and Spike Jones anarchy. Problems solved! Sidenote: I actually heard someone on NPR mispronounce “Grand Ole Opry” last week, using a long “O”, as if Oprah had something to do with it.

The Singleman Affair “Silhouettes at Dawn”

(www.cardboardsangria.com) I don’t hear a single, man. But you know what I do hear? Lushly melancholy deep emotional revelations…with hooks!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Robert Deeble “heart like feathers”

(www.robertdeeble.com) Deeble’s beautiful, pained, throbingly sincere music is not only heartfelt, but it also literally can be felt in your heart, as you’ll experience the heaviness in your chest slow your heartbeat and all the sad and sublime moments of your life will pass before your eyes. I should mention I have been drinking. But this made me increase my consumption, so Deeble shares the blame…

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Groove Kid Nation “Music in Motion,” “The Wheels on the Bus”

(www.groovekidnation.com) Children’s music committed to teaching tots to feel the funk. Not playing down to kids, these collections (in what sounds like a hot funk covers band messing around with nursery rhymes) teach the young’ns to do the soul clap, identify instruments (which doesn’t take much adjustment, as funk bands call out their instruments by name for solos all the time) and to react to high and low notes. They sound just as good sneaking lyrics about naps into Teddy Pendergrass songs as they do sneaking James Brown beats into The “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Best of all, they have animal characters as band members. I personally like “Music in Motion” CD better because I’m a purist…I prefer an all cat band to  a weasel/bird/bird/bug/rodent combo.

Lux "We Are Not the Same"

(S/R) Synth-sational music that has the kind of hypnotic dude-lady sonic intertwinings that make their already enchanting soundscapes (which somehow make shoegaze influences seem perky) feel electrified. Lux sounds like a million bux!

Red Wanting Blue “From the Vanishing Point”

(Fanatic) Me Wanting  CD to End.

Walter Rose “Cast Your Stone”

(www.walterrosemusic.com) Every Rose has his corn.

Cotton Mather “Kontiki”

(www.starapplekingdom.com) Beats the Beatles. Apparantly this fifteen-year old album we never heard of but the British ate up like intestine pudding is now getting a deluxe reissue here, and if you like music that sounds like British would like it (because it makes Sgt. Pepper’s sound like a hot dog jingle demo reel) cotton up to this.

Archer Black “Forgiveness is a Weapon”

(Post Planetary) I would probably buy a cologne or pep pill or firecracker or comic book called Black Archer. But you should buy a CD that makes the Pixies sound like musically timid pussies by a band called Archer Black.

St. Even “Spirit Animal”

(Dustbin Records) The patron saint of sad as hell-isms! Pretty sounding songs, though, especially that duet with Audie Darling.

Exdetectives “Take My Forever” Onefingerriot “Comedragmedown”

(Post Planetary) If Faris McReynolds (who can make art pop with One Finger and craft lushly lazy-voiced pop art as Exdetectives) was an X-Man instead of an Exdetective his mutant power would be achieving big hooks with small musical gestures. And having sexy eyes. 

Liquor Store “Yeah Buddy

 (Almost Ready Records) This epic win of an epic double album is both a grand statement and monosyllabic. Not to say it’s a one note pony -- there’s no Ramones double albums for a reason, but the fact that these cats (or vermin, more likely) can shift form Ramones to Stooges to Dictators to Toy Dolls to Sabbath to your creepy uncle means they have more range, if less magic , than Joey and Co. Liquor -- I hardly know her! But this makes me wish I did.

So Much To Say: Dave Matthews Band 20 years On the Road by Nikki Van Noy

(Simon and Schuster) One of the most telling things about the book is how clear it makes it that the size and devotion and financial commitment of the Dave Matthews Band fanbase/fanclub is remarkable. Van Noy is an admitted DMB superfan, which means that the book’s gushy praise is sincere, but it doesn’t mean that this history/tour diary/love letter isn’t a cynical cash in book that turns a less-than-critical eye at a band  to please the gotta-have-it customers/fans. I’m not personally bit by the DMB bug, but I did once spent a half-hour having Charlie Benante of Anthrax try to convince me I should be, so I’m minutely susceptible, and I will say one thing that this book convinced me of (which may make me give a second listen): the dynamic descriptions of the concerts evoke less Grateful Dead and more E-Street band, which is a lot more appealing.

Eskorbuto “Eskizofrenia”

(Munster) Archival early 80s Spanish hardcore that’s both ultra-youthful and impressively musically progressive (for traditionally musically meatheaded hardcore, that is). Maybe is Spain they send their toddlers to art school, or punish juvenile delinquents by making them take prog art rock. lessons

La Barra De Chocolate

(Munster) GUEST REVIEW BY JAMES PORTER: This Argentine release was from 1970, but it sounds like U.S. bands from 1967 – a lot more energetic and not as “jammy” as Americna bands entering the Me Decade. If you like the Love, Peace and Poetry psyche compilations you’ll like this. The fuzz sound is unusually tinny, whoich is good news if you value Vox over Fender. On “Alza La Voz,” the fuzz is almost drowned out by a horn section, which makes this Chocolte hot!

Traffic Sound “Virgin” (Munster)

(Munster) GUEST REVIEW BY JAMES PORTER: This reissue of a 1969 Peruvian lost psyche classic sounds like Bubble Puppy with greater syncopation on the uptempo tracks, and like mellow freak folk on the slower acoustic tracks. We’re going with the faster songs, especially “Jew’s Caboose,” which is not about Golda Meir’s tuchus. Listen for some of the freakiest sax this side of Free Spirits or the Stooges, and for a completely backmasked track.

Bent Spoon Blog satchel of goodies

(bentspoon.blogspot.com, c/o Ross Priddle #402 734-2 Ave NW Calgary AB T2N 0E3 Canada)  It’s hard to describe all the glorious mail art weirdness I received form the spoon benders, but Xeroxes of inky art, collage, abstract text, sweet drawings, clip madness, poetry, some occasional actual words that made sentences, and anarchy added up to some psychedelic paper consumption that did not involve licking anything.

Cousin Bones

(www.myspace.com/cousinbonesband) Every day is Halloween for the gravel-throated spooky-bluesman known as Cousin Bones, whose delightful strangeness makes his Tom Waits-growls and occasional Wild Man Fisher sensibilities seem warm and friendly. He’s a friendly ghost!

8-Track Mind Magazine #101

(russellforster@hotmail.com) The legendary, enigmatic, strange zine returns, but this time instead of pondering an obsolete musical format, they have some of the greatest figures from the golden age of zine publishing (present company notably – and slightly offendedly -  excluded…though I do appreciate anyone not asking me to work) to ponder the fate of the perhaps obsolete reading format known as the printed zine. Both abandoners of print (Kim Cooper of Scram, Danny Plotnick of Motorbooty) and stubborn holdouts (Lance Laurie of Snackbar Confidential and Joe Carducci, who uses his blog to workshop his future books) are invited atop the soapbox , as well as 8-Track Mind all-stars of yore (some of whom work the conversation back to magnetic tape). This actually may be the best ever issue ever of 8TM, as it often was just an extended letters section, with the editor turning over the pages to the interesting folks who wrote in, but here, by making everyone stay on point, he has his fascinating friends make some powerful cumulative arguments.

Mediocre Narcotica Greatest Hits Volume 1 by Chrissy Spallone

(bibliowhining.blogspot.com) This comic combines Mad Magazine-style parody ads, Zap-style underground comix, and Thomas Paine-style deception, because after reading these comix, which are mostly humorous lyrics for a hardcore band called Mediocre Narcotica, I spent an hour looking for the CD for which this had to be the lyric sheet, as I couldn’t believe these tunes weren’t “real.” The anti-Family Guy screed was so sincere, the anti-corporate greed and medical industrial complex were so angry, and the pro-apocalypse song was so awesome that I hope some unimaginative hardcore band wises up, buys this comic, and steals all these songs.

White Pages "Tour EP," "Demonstration 2011"

(whitepages.bandcamp.com) This Boston-based batshit crazy punk band has a little Massachusetts in them (some Modern Lovers vocal slurring) and plenty of East Coast in them (hardcore speed drumming is occasionally utilized, though never hardcore seriousness), and they definitely make sounds that are fat as a phone book. To summarize: I believe they are from where they claim to be from and I believe they are well named. And I like them. And I like cassette demos being back!

Dark Fog “Drug Portal: Heavy Dilemma”

(Commune Records) My mind was so moebius-strip twisted by this heavy psyche cloud cover (with occasional bursts of rock majesty) that I started to contemplate the concept of a Fark Dog. Think about it….thinkaboutit….

T.Q.D “Taketh Away”

(www.thequietdude.com) I’ve hear of emo-hip hop, but this is the real freaking deal, a painful, album-length exploration of mortality, loss, and introspective sadness. Yet the beats and rhymes are still cool, bringing back the best of the backpack era.

Abyssal Creatures “social awkwardness”

(www.abyssalcreatures.net) My sister worked at a movie theater when that film The Abyss came out. She said one person came and tried to by a ticket to “The Obese,” and someone else asked to see “A Bitch.” Neither of those titles would fit this delightfully dreamy dark-pop.

Sam Phillips “Solid State Songs From the Long Play”

(www.samphillips.com) Fill up my heart and feel up my soul!

Pinataland “Hymns for the Dreadful Night”

(Mekkatone) Pinatabland.


(www.hawleyshoffner.com)  Hawled off and socked me…in the heart! (Bonus: kazoos!!!)

The Thousand Pities “Believe in Sound”

(OverPop) Should be called the Thousand Pretties, cuz this lushly borderline somber pop sounds like it looks good.

Janet Robbins “Song of the Gypsy Tree”

(Star 7) A Gypsy tree must grow next to a Kate Bush.  That’s some powerful foliage!

Marc Bristol and the Harmatones “Bristol Rockin’”

(King Noodle) This may not be a popular opinion amongst the pompadour crowd, but my fave rockabilly usually falls into the novelty realm – the “Flying Saucer Rock n Roll,” “Haunted House” and “Rockin Bones”  vibes. So get Mr. Bristol –- known around these parts for his writing and publishing more than his pickin’ and grinnin’ -- to garnish some hot rockabilly with lyrics about about Mexican food, a persuasive penis, and the power of “Tutti Frutti” and you won’t hear me complainin’. Hear that….that’s me not complainin’!

The Icon, The Memoir by Flavor Flav

(Farrah Gray Publishing) Like his reality show persona, this book may not actually be that good, and the things FLav says may not be the most pleasant, but something about his personality is so likable that it all kind of works out. The most interesting aspects of this book involve the rather unpleasant reality of Flav’s financial situation and life during the Public Enemy sald days. As soon as he was off tour the money would be gone and he’s be a low level drug dealer, riding his bike. What’s most disappointing is that he never really answers his critics who say his reality TV persona is a throwback to minstrelsy – he says how upset he was that Chris Rock said he should be killed, but never addresses why Rock said it. But in the end, though FAR from a literary classic, you’ll like Flav more after reading this modest memoir.

The Ramblin’ Ambassadors “Ramble On”

(Mint) What do you call Canadian instrumental music done in Spaghetti Western soundtrack style? I’m gonna go with Poutine Western, and I’m gonna stick with these geniuses, who rumble like the surf, bounce like the MGs, and even get sultan-ic with the Middle Eastern grooves. Ramblin ramblin’ ramblin’ ramblin’…”

Savage Damage Digest

($7.50 each, write to savagedamagedigest@gmail.com for info) The first two issues of this massive, magnificent magazine are out, and Corey Michael Linstrum should be extremely proud of his hard rockin’ baby. First of all, this is a real-assed zine! It’s full of fanatical, knowledgeable writing, tons of Xerox-quality fotos and record label reproductions, and the glorious miscegenation of pro and amateur aesthetics that commercial press abhors. Most importantly, the writing and info is awesome, covering the trashier side of rock, punk, and garage with obsessive zeal. Issue one has an exploration of the “lost” years of Link Wray, his 70s recordings (and productions of others, many done in his rural chickenshack studio). Amazing analysis, research, and writing abound! Issue 2 does the same with Ross the Boss, not shunning his punk for his metal, or vice versa. But it’s the features on bands you don’t know, including access to the photo archives and brains of lost genius rockers that puts these over the top. You will be graciously appreciative of being savagely damaged!

Lucifer by Randy Pratt

(www.randyholden-lucifer.com) Lucifer is a 600 page novel about the lengthy, monumental career of the greatest heavy rock band of all time, the fictional Lucifer. But the reason rock fans may dig this book is that ‘fiction’ is less accurate than ‘historical fiction,’ because author Pratt’s intimate knowledge of/friendships with classic rock icons means that this book weaves together so many details and incidents that music geeks will appreciate that it’s the equivalent of an exhaustively researched period novel about Kennedy, Lincoln, or Churchill…it’s just that this one uses extensive knowledge of more important historical figures: it’s the likes of Randy Holden, Syd Barrett, and Tom Jones that pepper the adventures of Lucifer. Considering the protagonist’s sexy ladyfriend, this work also brings to mind FanFiction (the subculture where sci fi and TV fans write stories that often have the crew of the Enterprise or the cast of Buffy having lots of intercourse) or even Forest Gump, with the hapless Jenny screwing her way across Twentieth Century history (though Lucifer’s Whilma enjoys more triumphs and dignity than AIDS-ravaged Jenny did). The naughtiness climaxes at a sleazy 70s party where Lucifer confronts the Rat Pack, with Ol’ Blue Eyes calling them fags while famous porno chic adult film stars orchestrate a writhing orgy around the confrontation between the icons of two eras of musical cool. In this scene we get a little bit of Sammy admitting he doesn’t get heavy rock, but wishing he did cuz the friendliest Rat Packer wants to be hip. Sadly, for Sammy-philes like myself, in the book’s other insane cultural confluence scene (where actual Elvis conducts the first Elvis-overseen Vegas wedding of our romantic leads) Sammy is not with the Rat Packers. Pratt has worked with countless hard rock bands over the years, and many of them make appearances in these pages (including Cactus, a fine band only a hardcore, balls-out rock fan would include), and I’m sure he’s read hundreds of musical autobiographies, because this definitely reads like one of those. But for 600 pages to sustain quality you need some literary chops, some Jonathan Lethem or Michael Chabon action, not the equivalent of I Am Ozzy or Sex Money KISS. Which doesn’t mean obsessive rock fans shouldn’t read this, they will definitely enjoy the absurd grandeur and the fantasy namedropping of this alternate history (Lucifer’s influence, which despite the name is surprisingly wholesome and angelic, is used to redeem a number of doomed rockers), but you won’t be able to read it in one marathon session.

The Rock and Roll Alphabet by Jeffrey Schwartz and Chuck Boyd

(www.therockandrollalphabet.com) This book marries amazing photographs from the 60s and 70s by rock lensman Boyd with rhyming couplets to make it a children’s alphabet book (ostensibly). As a photo book it is unbelievable. James Brown fixing a magnificent helmet of hair, Ozzy and Tony goofing on stage during a Black Sabbath gig, Marvin Gaye mesmerizing a nightclub…nearly every shot, even the live concert ones, feels intimate and revealing. And since Boyd had Queen shots, the only letter Schwartz has to fudge is X (T-ReX – which is a pretty good concert photo, by the way). As a kiddie book I’m not sure…there’s nothing wrong with the rhymes but if the kids don’t already dig Fleetwood Mac or Aretha there’s not much here to convince them. Even the stuff that usually draws in kids is not the right images – the KISS one is kind of dark and not vivid enough to have comic book majesty and the beautiful Beatles picture has them more as medium-length haired humans, not in their cartoony, uniformed (moptop or Pepper’s brigade) glory that kids might dig. But I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy this book, it’s pretty great. The fact that he has an actual Velvet Underground photo should be enough to convince you that this cat had the goods.

Kevn Kinney and the Golden Palominos “a good country mile”

(www.drivinncryin.com) I’m excited by this mostly because I did not know that Kinney was still in the game and that his band drivin’ n’ cryin’ had released records as recently as 2009. I was a genuine obsessive about the band’s 1987 “Whisper Tames the Lion” LP which was produced by the Golden Palamino’s Anton Fier. So this callabo sort of highlights the songwriting, production, and optimistically melancholy vibe of a record that I listened to a thousand times. "a good country mile" is an album of new and old songs that would appease country, southern rock, indie rock, guitar geek, Americana, 60s country rock, and singer/songwriter fans, all of whom would feel like they understood it better than all those folks in the room with different haircuts than them.

Thinger Dingers by J.T. Yost

(birdcage bottom books) Fact and fictional comix nuggets about bogus roommates, buried-alive bodies, bad-attitude babies, boudoir-bound birds, and booze. Yost is the boss-t!

Signals zine

(http://radiofrequencyinternational.wordpress.com) A genuinely interesting study of shortwave radio, pirate radio, and the anarchic joys of unusual radio production and consumption. (Note: the re-named zine is now called Paper Radio)

Tales of Blood and Roses #2

(www.talesofbloodandroses.com) If this chilling fiction/poetry/video game review (?) horror compilation was a Godzilla foe it would be Gothra. If it were an irreverent, controversial Jewish American novelist it would be Philip Goth. If it were a Star Wars battle locale it would be the Ice Planet of Goth.

Motorpsycho #25

(http://www.ratbike.org/motorcycho/mchopage.html) The only thing that could make this motorbikes and garage rock zine better would be if they if they started a sister publication called Side Car-azy.

Askew Reviews #15

(www.askewreviews.com) A few reviews, some new fiction views, the true food news…plus a brutal prostate exam nightmare.