Thursday, January 31, 2013

Background Noise Crew "Everybody Does This Volume 2," Common Labor “Tales of the Troubadors”

( When I was a lad the indie, low key, thoughtful hip hop the members of the humbly named Background Music Crew trade in was called “backpack.” They would often actually have on backpacks at the clubs! If you see any Backgrounds with backpacks on, ask them if they are filled with any product, you might be pleased with wachu get. Samplers/comps are often the best way to get introduced to  a crew, because you get some real nice variety, and Phingaz' production makes sure stuff is truly eclectic. Analyrical raps over banjo loops! Status Reign's "I'm An Alien" is a bouncy ball of awesome with a Fat Albert meets Quincy Jones vibe. Zombiexzombie delivers message music inside a cloud of mellow so chill that the tales of urban challenges are far more potent than if told over harsh beats. One of the acts, Common Labor, also have their own album.
This live instrumentation combo (though not featuring a bombastic band…live instruments sounding like regular hip hop tracks) keep it underground and if you’re under the ground, I dig it (get it, dig…under…ground). 

il sogno del marinaio "la busta gialla"

( What's the time? It's time to get il sogno del marinaio! Italian cats play glorious noodle-scapes while Mike Watt provides geometry lessons on bass, resulting in spaghetti post rock, which is actually more apt a description than you think I'm making, though likely no less an ethnic slur than you likely accuse me of. If you, like me, thought the band's name was the Italian translation of "Yo no soy marinero," and were expecting "La Bamba" meets La Bohème, you'll be disappointed, but for the 6,973,738,432 who aren't me, you'll dig this just fine. 

Awaken! "Trancendation Activation: The Love Amplification Channel"

( As far as I can tell, this is designed as a functional transcendental meditation facilitation audio tool, a soundtrack to help one reach a higher plane. So this is, basically, de facto psychedelic music, it is functionally psychedelic, and it is psyche to the core, and would be so even if there weren't ghostly electric guitars wailing quietly, yet forcefully, in the background. This would be full on psyche if were played on finger pianos and kazoos, this stuff is committed! I listened when I was driving and I ended up flying to my destination. Which was Nirvana!

Opposable Thumbs

(Gubbey) Trashy punk with keyboards, angles, and vocal inflections that No Wave this up just the right amount to scare of the garage rockers and punk purists. This futuristic caveman music keeps Louisville on the weirdo rock map (which it has not had much trouble doing over the last quarter century)

Red Box Money Cult "9-26-12"

(RBMC) Ridiculous evil hardcore that made me want to break my house and kill opossums. Incredible, manic, desperate, raw throated vocals, perfect sloppy high octane  h/c "musicianship," and songs about being angry and criminal. Better than any movie in the actual Redbox. And most of the video games.

Red Jacket Mine "Someone Else's Cake"

(Fin) Seventies FM radio production pop that's slick, smooth and soul-ish (though as far from R&B-ish as possible). If you ever wanted to hear Steely Dan songs sung by Bob Dylan, with Bernie Taupin script doctoring the lyrics, this is your band.

Kontiki Suite "On Sunset Lake"

( If you like your pop warm and sweet you'll be warm for this Suite, as California sunshine pop meets California "country" a la the Byrds with some Yacht Rock mellow and sheen rubbed in to their mellotronic magic tricks. That they captured this Cali sunshine vibe from their dreary England homebase is the real magic.

Pool Party "Pool Party Party," "Teenage Weirdo" ep

(Mooster) I first heard this band on their great "Teenage Weirdo" split single, which featured a novelty punk act, a pop punk band, a hard rock group and an ominous evil act...and they're all the same group! Party on! But the full length is the real Pool Rager, with  a theme song that could be in the opening sequence of any great teen party movie any decade, rad Ramones ripoffs, comedy, tragedy, and the scariest scissor violence song you'll ever pogo to...while holding scissors.

The Instigation "Foreign Moron" ep

( Absolutely furious, super intense, high speed hardcore from Shanghai with vitriolic English lyrics attacking hypocrites, conformists, racists, and Americans. And by English lyrics I mean that if the singer/lyricist is not from England he's the best English punk impersonator ever...and if he is Chinese and chose the name "Simon Cochrane" instead of "Buzz Vomit" or "Gash Something or Another" he is a genius. The guitarist (Misuzu, which I assume is the real name) does a great job of bringing trashy rock n roll guitar into straight up h/c without any crossover-undertines despite blazing solos. InstiGREATion.

Myth of Progress

(www.mythofprogress.comShould be called "Prog of Miss-nyets," because these huge, dramatic, narrative instrumentals are prog rock so important you should say multiple "no's" (or nyets, in Russian, the language of dramatic narrative) to missing this!

J. L Stiles "presents House of Murmurs"

( J. L. stands fro "Jenius Level!" This laid buck but deep tale telling is more substance than Stile.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ian Gillian & Tony Iommi "WhoCares," V/A "Remachined: A Tribute to Deep Purple's Machine Head"

(Eagle Rock) I dunno...sometimes I can listen to classic rock icons/dinosaurs play and sing all day, and pretty much everyone ever in Purple or Sabbath was intensely talented. But sometimes it feels like these are lofty gods whose hubris blinds their senses. Which is odd to say in response to a charity record, which one could argue involves humility and empathy by definition. Gillian and Iommi collabo-ed with Jason Newsted, Jon Lord and Niko McBrain for a charity single that has now been repackaged with rarities by G & I, bloating two songs into two discs. The problem is that much of this is recent, excessive, absurd, not great material. Then again, with metal gods excessiveness and absurdity often are greatness, and while I say I don't like most of this, the wailing vocals and guitars and melodramatic music by these guys (and friends, including Glenn Hughes and Dio, singing "Smoke on the Water" live!) is inherently awesome, even when it's not ostensible enjoyable. It's amazing how often Spinal Tap seems like a book of proverbs in real live rock, because much of this is great without being actually good. There are some genuinely bad things, including an inferior Sabbath track or two, and an absurd Hughes/Iommi song called "Let it Down Easy" that Sammy Hagar would have passed on. But a ten minute Deep Purple studio jam from the 90s, a silly Marvn Gaye cover done when Gillian's first band had a reunion, and Gillian singing New Orleans style with Dr. John bring way more smiles than grimaces. The Deep Purple tribute record is more solid, but considering that "Machine Head" is something you could listen to every day forever without getting sick of it, I'm not sure when you would put this on. The probles with covering perfect songs are demonstrated by the two versions of "Smoke on the Water." Santana is too reverent, Flaming Lips are too flippant, and both just make the original sound better without adding anything to the conversation. A live "Highway Star" by Chickenfoot and a muscular "Space Truckin' by" Iron Maiden are both enjoyable, and demonstrate the love these guys feel for the source material. Gelnn Hughes shows off some impressive pipes, Black Label Society get dirty, Metallica does OK, Both Steve Vai and Steve Stevens do what Steve Vai and Steve Stevens do, and members of Def Leppard, G&R, , Papa Roach, Cold Chisel, Black Country Communion, and Red Hot Chili Peppers contribute, so this comp not lacking for stars. Or highways.

Waves of Fury "Thirst"

(Alive) Weird, soulful rock n roll with intriguingly half-swallowed vocals and claustrophobic arrangements that give the impression that you're listening to the soundtrack playing inside a disturbed genius' head.

Stephen Kalinich & Jon Tiven "Shortcuts to Infinity/Yo Mam Ma/Symptomology"

(MsMusic) Two super veterans (Kalinich is a longtime Beach Boys collaborator/Tiven worked with Alex Chilton on his great early post-Big Star stuff) getting together and writing a bushel of songs and then sort of arranging them in album form, with the results being pleasantly schizophrenic. The less jokey stuff showcases diverse songwriting skills, fine vocals, and smidgens of subtlety. The punny joke folk material doesn't evoke too many smiles, but earns nods of appreciation for cleverness. Along the way odes to getting high, giving up, and payola may explain why these talented cats are not household names. 

Bachman & Turner "Live at the Roseland Ballroom, NYC"

(Eagle) Don't know BTO LP tracks too well, but I'm pretty sure this rollicking concert is a mix of classics and spanking new material, which is fine by me, because all of it is about rocking and sung with a fun, heavy, gruff-voiced magic (all while maintaining Canadian manners). Not enough banter here for my taste, but plenty of good times. Of course it would be more fun if they opened and closed with "Taking Care of Business," and played "American Woman" three times, but one tume each sufficed. We can't all be Sky Saxon (who, to be fair, may have never known how many time he played "Pushin' Too Hard" each night).

Norwood Park All Stars "Northwest Highway"

(Bam Bam) Third wave Chicago hardcore vets reconvene to make twangy, catchy, driving punk that is, quite frankly, way better than I remember any6 of these bands being in the 80s. Maybe good bands should stop having all these reunions, leaving room for the so-so bands to do it, so they can get it right this time!

Frand D' Rone "double exposure"

(Whaling City Sound) Frank D' Rone is a local legend, the last standing Chicago-area classic jazz vocals-era cat, this side of Milt Trenier (who married into Chicagoland, the same way he married into being able to nosh Jewish delicacies with authority at Skokie delis). In a return to the recording studio D' Rone's golden pipes are seasoned but still surprisingly youthful and relatively muscular, authoritatively ushering Arlen, Newley, and Hammerstein into the 21st Century. The classy arrangements (by Phil Kelly) either swing hard or sway loose on sparem (yet lush) guitar. D' Rone is respected but underappreciated, and while I'm comfortabe with the "l" word, in truth he's a should-be-legend, just because not enough folks know about his legacy. prowess, and magic.

T. Tex Edwards "Intexicated!"

(Saustex) Past and present Nervebreakers frontman, Exhumer of Country and Rockabilly crazy cool, Exalted Mystic Ruler of the Psychotic and the Psychedelic, organic garden and exotic print sportcoats cultivator, second to none, T. Tex Edwards has always left a long shadow in the past 30 years, whether it be in Dallas, Los Angeles, or Austin where he currently resides. It's his ability to get inside a song, as well as his mind numbing versatility that earned him a cult following (not the kind that drinks Grape Kool - Aid) in The U.S., Europe, and probably places that don't have the bomb.  "Intexicated!" originally saw the light of day as an  extremely limited edition (50 copies) cassette compilation, chronicling  T. Tex's  post-Nervebreakers work (barring only a few, like The Jungle Heirs, Same Old Bastards, and the more recent Texwardians). It was released in 1999, with the intention of an expanded CD release. Well, it's finally here. Most of the songs that appeared on the cassette, and many others, await your perusal on this new, improved CD version. The one glaring omission was a strong version of The Velvet's classic "What Goes on,” as performed by The Loafin' Hyenas, An L.A. based Garage/Roots/Cowpunk supergroup, featuring Click Mort (briefly with The Cramps, as their last-ever second Guitarist), the late Rob Ritter (bassist, Gun Club), Herman Senac (drummer, Blood on The Saddle, and, later, Crowbar Salvation), not to mention, the spooky, atmospheric Country fiddle stylings of Tom Blaylock. The Loafin Hyenas put out one great LP on New Rose, represented here in outtake form. "If Looks Could Kill" evokes T. Tex's most blood-curdling, bile-spewing contempt committed to vinyl:  "If looks could kill, I'd give you a second glance.” The ironic twist on an old cliche wasn’t lost on Texas Terri, who, when not kissing Ratso, found time to cover it. "Goin' South" is represented here in a much more stripped-down Rural Blues send up.  It is, at once, the most politically incorrect, and the most politically CORRECT song you're likely to hear. Two tracks recorded with Dallas Psych legends Lithium Xmas from a session that produced a mind-melting 45 on Sympathy (with a VERY dirty "Strange Movies,” featuring a phone sex rap with Edwards and Lithium Xmas chanteuse, K.Y. Boyce, and "Love Power" from the REAL "The Producers,” and, a staple in their early set, when The Artist Not Yet Known as MC900 Ft. Jesus, Mark Griffin, did the honors). Love Power" appears here in an alternate version, but the real standout track is The Alice Cooper Group's original Klezmer Rocker (Possibly The First), "Nobody Likes me. The band included founding members, Griffin and Greg Sinodis on Guitar, plus, Tom Battles (Si, mi Hermano) on THIRD Guitar (Tom was also in Tex's band The Swingin' Cornflake Killers, represented here by "Cravin',” a HAINTED  'Billy Rocker. That band also featured Paul Orr, from early Dallas Punk bands, Deprogrammer and The Assassins**), and, at the time, drummer Chris Merlick (Fireworks, Iron Bong), and Mark Ridlen as The Beaver. The Big D Ramblers produced more Roots madness with the title track (parts one and two) and "It's Gravity" (one of only two drug songs in the entire collection). Danny McCreary, from Graceland, handled Guitar and Bass Duties on these tracks. Graceland used to be my backing group, when I played out as "Elvis From Hell,” albeit with a different lineup than the one that did an EP, and still performs, today. Gentleman John Battles does NOT have a beef with Graceland, OK?  Tex recorded what would become his signature tune, "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine,” written by Phil Bennison (Teddy and The Tall Tops, Perry Mason and The Defendants, Eddie Kirkland, and Homer Henderson, The One Man Band), with the (recently reformed) Hickoids. The late Stanley Moore, of the legendary Zakary Thaks, played drums on this track. In fact, Edwards and my Brother did some studio recordings with Alan Schramm of Nobody's Children ("Good Times") infamy, engineering, and even writing the yet-unreleased "Lesbian Cowboy Girls"(Hey, Horton Heat's "Cowboy Love" didn’t seem to piss anyone off, and this song is positive, too). My Mom loves "Lee Harvey,” but, when The Cornflake Killers played it at my Brother's wedding, one guest literally left the building, fuming, and didn’t come back. Out on Parole was a real all-star collective of Austin's finest, including Mike Buck (Leroi Bros., Sir Douglas Quintet, Teddy and The Tall Tops, etc) and Freddie Krc (Roky Erickson and/or The Explosives, Jerry Jeff Walker, Freddie Steady 5) on drums, and Joe Dickens (Leroi Bros., Teddy and The Tall Tops). They recorded a number of the songs further associated with Tex's "Murder Country" fixation, which carried itself over into The Swingin' Cornflake Killers, upon his return to Dallas.  T. Tex Edwards and Out on Parole eventually released "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone To Kill" on New Rose, but, an earlier recording, "Crazy Date" by The Crazy Teens doesn’t involve killing anyone, it just IS a killer. Teddy and The Talltops would record it a few years later . Eddie Noack's "Psycho ('84) " is the definitive Killer Country classic, also covered by The Beasts of Bourbon and Elvis Costello, but, Tex owns this song, lock, stock and smokin' barrel.  Remember what I said, before, about getting INSIDE a song? This ain't Insurgent Country. This is the URGENT Country! "LSD (Made a Wreck Out of Me)" by Wendell Austin is certainly at the top of the Drug/Death heap, ready made for the Tex treatment, Marty Muse's Steel Guitar talking on an almost psychedelic tone in the crazed fadeout, as Edwards tastes a moment of madness, and Joe Dickens mimics Duane Eddy doing a scary rendition of "Strangers in The Night". Going back to the earliest tracks included here, Tex and The Saddletramps was the first Nervebreakers offshoot band to leave a dent in the Big "D.” Mike Haskins from The Nervebreakers played Guitar, Linda Shaw (later with Out on Parole) played Bass, and Russell Fleming from The Vomit Pigs (later with Teddy and The Tall Tops, The Big D Ramblers, and The Swingin' Cornflake Killers) made up the first band in the land to successfully Punk up Country and Rockabilly, just in time for the short-lived 80's Rockabilly Revival (though Rockabilly gigs had been staged, previously, with the likes of Gene Summers, Johnny Carroll, Sid and Billy King and Robert Gordon at Nick's Uptown in Dallas). Their recorded output was limited to three songs on the Steel Rok Presents cassette (with the fine Post-Punk /Psych outfit, Man in The Reign, The Assassins and The Hugh Beaumont Experience's last * (And, in the case of the latter, best) recordings, The Howling Dervishes (Tom Battles, with Chuck Rose of Cringe and Johnny Carroll's last band) and The Stinky Shits (a rare case of Hardcore with a sense of humor), and a known, but, until recently, never released, recording of "Move It!,” where Tex is in all his woman-hatin' glory (it's an act, folks. He's been with the same woman longer than most guys have been with their dicks). Another signature song, he re-recorded it with The Loafin' Hyenas. The Evan Johns-era Leroi Bros. covered it, too. The original "Move It!" makes it's commercial debut, after 30 years, here, as does an alternate version of "Have You Ever Spent The Night in Jail" from "Steel Rock" (arguably the better of the two), and a spiffy send-up of Bill Haley and The Comets' "13 Women.” A staggering rendition of Dave Davies' "Death of a Clown,” with The Toe Tags (Tex's short-lived Kinks tribute band) is another of many standout tracks on this collection . You might find it hard to believe that all 19 tracks are by the same person, or that so many talented people would, and still do, come to his aid when the creative muse is screaming. But, this is no vanity project. This is the career retrospective that needed to be made. Tex is an Artist, If he doesn’t want to do something, fuck it. He won't. But, in recent years, he's really been going to town, reforming several bands from his past, and starting new ones all the time. Lately, he's been kickin' out the punkadelic jams with Purple Stickpin (represented, here, by a completely atypical sendup of "Baby's Got a Gun" by The Only Ones), with Dan Hoekstra, late of The Sons of Hercules, and Tom Trusnovic of 27 Devils Joking. If you can't get to Austin to see 'em, friends and neighbors, there's lots of rockin' live footage on YouTube.
* I could sit here and spot trains all day, but I thought I'd tell you, after leaving the Ft. Worth Teen-Punk band, The Hugh Beaumont Experience (who had their own zine, Throbbing Cattle), drummer King Vitamin (nee Jeff Coffe) joined the Butthole Surfers and remains the only constant, besides founders, Paul Leary and Gibby Haynes.
**Patrick "Taz" Bentley, played drums with The Assassins, who morphed into Western Alliance, an outstanding melodic Punk - oriented outfit that later leaned on Metal, Heavy. Bentley later turned up in Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! with Barry Kooda, then in what most people consider the classic Reverend Horton Heat lineup. He went on to play in Tenderloin and The Burden Bros.

The Demerits "Shake It!" b/w "In A Band"

(Mooster) This is basically a perfect trash rock single: The band is a beautifully barely-controlled mess; each side maybe makes it to two minutes; one song is about how fun it is to rock dive bars and crash on couches; the other song barely has two words, yet convinces you that "shake it" is a more profound statement than Shakespeare, Einstein, or Tom Cruise ever made. All I can say is, Shake It!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nervebreakers "Hijack The Radio”

 After re-releasing the celebrated Dallas Punk band's one full length studio LP*, and three rare singles (reviewed last ish), Get Hip  presents a carefully curated collection of cool obscurities and favorite songs by the feared and revered Nervebreakers. The Nervebreakers rose from the ashes of a band called The Idiots, fronted by T. Tex Edwards, ca. '73.  The Dallas club scene was like a lot of others, at the time. Cover bands and pedestrian Hard Rock music ruled the roost. But, two shows by The New York Dolls shows seemed to indicate which way the tide was turning.  Besides The Idiots, bands like The Toys  (who'd survive to share bills with The 'Breakers), and, apparently, Maniac (led by an early Iggy wannabe, we're told), were feeling the Glam influence and laying down the Proto Punk foundation.  Nothing could change the shape of things to come.  By 1975, The Nervebreakers had emerged, fully formed, and ready to tear Dallas a new asshole (I lived there in The 80's. There were still plenty of 'em left).   Armed with a two guitar attack, a pummeling rhythm section, and a not-so-secret weapon in frontman, T. Tex Edwards (about whom Buddy magazine said "He's not the greatest singer, but that didn’t stop Alice Cooper, or Jim Dandy, or Helen Reddy”) and inspirations as disparate as, say, The Ohio Express, The Troggs, Bo Diddley, George Jones, Kevin Ayers, The Chocolate Watchband, The Seeds, The Small Faces, The Pretty Things, Johnny Horton, The Kinks, The Doors and The 13th Floor Elevators, The Raspberries, The Bay City Rollers, and, of course, The Velvets, The Stooges, The Dolls and The MC5, The Nervebreakers were open for business, and it was their business to be Punk Pioneers for The Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, and anywhere else that'd have 'em . Their (Mis)adventures would take them as far as San Francisco and even New York City, while laying down the foundation for a healthy local scene that would go on to include The Skuds, The Infants, Plastic Idols, Quad Pi, The Telefones, The Dot Vaeth Group, Superman's Girlfriend, The Ft. Worth Cats, The Ejectors, The Teenage Queers, The V.D. Generates, and, last, but not least, The Vomit Pigs, who had actually started life as a Boogie band, we're told, in Dangerfield, Texas, in 1974. The Nervebreakers not only had great taste in covers, but, they led the pack as dynamic songwriters, carving out such Punk anthems as "My Girlfriend is a Rock " (covered by Metal Mike Saunders, Jessy Drastic and The Mess Me Ups, The Dirtbags, and Spector 45 as "My Girlfriend's in Iraq"), "Why am I So Flipped," and "Hijack The Radio," all of which appeared on their first two 45s, and kick this package off, as well. The early days, before the band discovered, and opened for, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash, are represented by two tracks from 1975, when the band had Pierre Thompson on bass and Psychedelic keyboardist, Walter Ray Brock. "Missa Moses,” a rare group instrumental, featuring Brock, suggests what "Funhouse" could have sounded like with a jeyboard player instead of a saxophonist. But, being as how Don Galucci, original Kingsmen and Don And The Goodtimes' organist, produced "Funhouse,” you don't even have to tax your brain so hard. "Part of My Love,” though recorded in 1977, invokes the dreaded spectre of Bubblegum, at least, when The Troggs did  it  ("Hip Hip Hooray").  An early version of "Hijack" (two versions appear here), and of "I Love Your Neurosis" (which first turned up in 1979, on the indispensible Dallas Punk comp "Are We Too Late For The Trend?,” along with the tuff Power Pop rocker, "So Sorry,” sung by Barry Kooda, which also appears here), and "I Wanna Kill You,” were also recorded in '77, and prove The 'Breakers knew the writing was spraypainted on the wall, before Dallas even had a Punk club, namely DJ's, The Hot Klub and the nearly forgotten Random Scam (aka " Rancid Scum '"), to spraypaint them on.  A more melodic, though thoroughly rockin'  "Beyond The Borderline" also emerged from that mythic year (which, for most of us, too young and too unhip, also meant the year of Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, Frampton, Star Wars, and skateboarding in it's first major comeback, before being inexplicably co-opted by punk, years later).   Bassist Clarke Blacker appears on the earlier "Neurosis" and "Everything Right,” but would leave the group, later turning up in Stickmen With Rayguns (on guitar), but, the classic, and still-active, lineup is (drumroll, please...) - Thom "Tex" (better known, today as T. Tex) Edwards - Vocals, Mike Haskins - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Barry Kooda - Guitar, Vocals, "Crusher" Carl Giesecke - Drums/ Percussion, and "Barbecue" Bob Childress - Bass. This is the lineup that welded Rockabilly, Garage, and the emerging Punk sounds like The Dead Boys, Heartbreakers, and Dictators, as well as The Ramones and The Pistols, into something uniquely theirs, uniquely Texan, something that'll appeal to record collectors and fans of what Truck Driver and former Nervebreakers Roadie, Pope Coleman, calls '' NO NONSENSE, BALLS OUT, FOUR ON THE FLOOR ROCKn’'ROLL!!!” The 'Breakers are for you. Eliminate the middleman. But, this collection of originals (and one cover song, The Troggs' "Strange Movies,” leaning heavily, though not entirely, on the "clean version" The Troggs performed on David Bowie's Midnight Special 1980 Floor Show) is just the beginning. There are more volumes on the way, we're told.
Plus, there's a whole album's worth of newly recorded versions of Nervebreakers classics that were never recorded at the time, such as "I'd Rather Die" and "Face Up To Reality" (The title track), and, while I can't act as middleman I suggested we eliminate, if anyone has any ideas, as to where to direct those highly toxic tracks, I can get the message to the right parties.
* The Nervebreakers ' studio album "We Want Everything" was recorded in 1981, and released on Existential Vacuum, about a dozen years later, on vinyl. Get Hip picked it up, later, on CD, and released it, recently, on 180 Gram vinyl, the plural of which is still vinyl, as in " Ryan Richardson and Greg Kostelich each released
 The Nervebreakers' album on vinyl, but, the vinyl was released at two different times. " . Vinyls, it's not a word. Sorta like "Yo ! ".  

Mehran "Subterranea"

( Cinematic, atmospheric soundscapes with ethnic music undertones that will mystically chill you out...uncomfortably so, even!

The Butt Shakers "Wicked Woman"

(Copasedisques) Deep soul stompers that will make you want to eat something salty, drink something strong, love your woman, and break your furniture. Except for your record player, of course.

Tokyo Rosenthal "Tokyo's Fifth"

(Rock & Sock) Snark free singing and Nashville studio-quality craftsmanship belie the fact that there is an underlying Randy Newman-esque wicked inclination to undermine and and decimate expectations of seriousness and non-whimsy, even when he is being serious. Thus, Mr. Rosenthal keeps the listener on his or her toes, or Toes-kyos, if you will.

The Satin Chaps "Might I Suggest"

( Organ driven R&B party rockers that are a lot more reminiscent of Dave "Baby" Cortez than they are to the king of organ-driven R&B, Booker T. But think about it,  who would you rather party with? Dave "Baby," baby! These slick chaps tired me out and made my organ happy.

Bully in the Hallway "Crooks and their Castles"

( Fully into, ALL WAYS!

Rainy Day Saints "all these strange ghosts"

(Get Hip) It's my understanding that to achieve sainthood you need to have done one certified miracle. I suppose making 60s-style record collector pop sound fresh qualifies!

Man Made Sun “more a devil than a god”

( Heavy post-Korn rock (minus the rap-rock vibe) with anxious, troubled lyrics sung in a Cousin Balki accent. In other words, AWESOME!

Akron “Voyage of Exploration”

(Vampisoul) Name yourself after a Midwest working class city and set up expectations of heartland bar rock. But shit, if I was stuck in the rust belt I’d rather take a trip by hearing this weirdo, exotica, space genie, astral astral riding, spiritual sex dance starangeness!

Glorie "Falling"

( Messing with genres while creating pleasant lush instrumentals this Memphis mob is sort of like a post-post rock Trans-Siberian Orchestra (which is better than being an ambient Krautrock Mannheim Steamroller). If your life is not boring, but not nearly dramatic enough to be playing Wagner, Can or, Spaghetti Western soundtracks as your background theme music, this might be for you.

Dead End “DEII”

(Alternative Tentacles) Not sure how you count generations of punk. It was certainly short in the late 70s and early 80s, maybe 18 months a generation (the new kids from 1985 were pathetic latecomers to the 1983 punks, and don’t think of associating them with the 1980 bands, and so on). In the 90s and beyond with the recycling of styles and mainstreaming of punk and CDs flooding where vinyl trickled, then online music drowning that flood in an ocean of sounds, maybe generations stopped mattering. Anyhoo, all that is to say that a Chicago punk supergroup made up of members of AOF (1981 vintage), Alkaline Trio (1997), The Bomb (1999) and Rise Against (2001) is bridging two genrations, but certainly not consecutive generations. Bondi sounds great on this EP, howling like a pissed off madman. His bandmates don’t try to drag him into any 90s trends, but when their melodic instincts kick in (like in the band’s band name theme song…always a good idea) it’s really compelling. The most chanty, catchy tune, “Indefinite Detention,” also does the best job of getting the political points across clearly, which is a good lesson for activists and politicians…a spoonful of sugar! The only real disappointment is that their best song title, and best 80s-style hardcore tune,  “Ayn Rand Chicken Sandwich,” does not come with an accompanying recipe, just some vitriolic lyrics shaming closeted gay Republicans. If Bobby Seale could put out a barbecue book why can't radical 80s Chicago rockers teach us to cook as well? Vic and Albini might not agree on a lot, but we can all agree that they both must have some healthy dietary habits, they look great! Share your secrets!

R&B Hipshakers Vol. 3, Sensacional Soul Vol. 3

(VampiSoul) Last year two of VampiSoul's most thrilling series hit Junior year, and these upperclassman comps will get you up, without being too classy. Hipshakers continues to be a thrilling romp into the vaults of King/Federal, and unlike the previous two volumes, despite big names here (including Hank Ballard, Ike Turner, Joe Tex, and Little Willie John) I don't think I knew any of these tracks. The playful, invigorating playlist, compiled by WFMU's Mr, Fine Wine, opens with a crazed manic mambo from Cozy Cole and about an hour later pretty much tears down the house with the Mystics doowop demolition job, "The Jumpin' Bean," a pseudo Latin via the Islands via the Twilight Zone masterpiece (there is one more track after it, Red Prysock's slinky "Harem Girl," but that's there for your's not safe to drive until at least two minutes and twenty nine seconds after getting hopped up on "The Jumping Bean"). In between Linda Hopkins wails over a hypnotizing horn loop, Bill Doggett parodies "cool" while inventing it, and Jimmy Peterson challenges the El Dorados' "At My Front Door" for crazy little doo wopping classic with his "One Buffalo" rocker. This is just F-U-N, and if you can't get behind that F-word, I have some Morrissey solo CDs to sell you.  Available as a CD or as ten 45s! The Sensacional Soul series is a different beast -- I haven't heard any of these sides either, but how could I? I have never been to Spain, and that never includes 1966 through 1976 when these scorchers were released. Los Goya delivers porno funk, Los Albas brings the go go club rock n roll, Larry Wald, in a thick-accented English, sings a creepy groove-rocker about being Superman ("Give you all the super loving that I can...hop inside my phone little X-ray eyes will see right into you...), Julio Montes brings some soulful detective jazz, Los Bravos cover "It's not Unusual" in front of a Beatles-screaming crowd, The Pipe give the Afro-Laton treatment to "Wade in the Water,"and Johnny Valentino sings a genuinely terrifying groovy love song that sexually assaulted my ears. In other words, "soul" is a pretty lose term here, and these mesmerizing tracks are often as amazing for their strange powers as for their grooves. It's a great double album, that could have been the best single album ever, but I wouldn't know what to cut. The worst tracks on here, like Valentino's violation, are also the ones I played fifty times in a row just so I could believe they existed. Spanish nuts were always my favorite snack, and here they are a whole meal!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Tunnel “Sultry Daggers”

(Glorious Alchemical) Sinister carney rock with swirling danger and “the creeps” steadily delivered like catlogues at Christmastime. Like Nick Cave if he actually lived in a cave. Like Gun Club if they actually lived in a gun. Like Bauhaus if they actially lived in a bat house.

Eugenia Elliot “4000 Weeks”

( With her perfect early 70s coffeehouse post-folk style voice, Elliot sings like a beautiful bird. It’s enough to make me regret rooting for Sylvester in all those Warner Brothers cartoons.

The Cave Dwellers “Run Around”

(Numero) This Chicago Beatles-era garage troupe is best known because the b-side of their lush Chicago-pop style single “You Know Why” in the incongruous and insane garage punk meltdown “You Know Why,” which makes the Seeds sound like they should be selling Burpee seeds.(FYI: that’s a reference to gardening supplies that nerdy, ambitious kids bought wholesale out of comic booksin the 60s-80s, to earn pocket money, not some obscure drug reference, though I do hear Burpee Gold is mostly stems and seeds). The second single included in Numero’s new ridiculous hard-cardboard galefold double 7” series takes two unreleased tracks that are less neanderthalic than their heavy ht (or their caveman vests, or their Fred Flinstone-thick manes), but it’s good to remember that longhaired teens liked sappy US pop as much as Beatles and Stones in 1965.

The Mentalettes “Fine, Fine, Fine” b/w “Do You Love Me”

(CopasDisques) Ridiculously great, super tough, organ driven, organ-stimulating, punked out girl group magic that is so good I’m not sure how to describe it without just singing the awesome hooks to you. So give me a call. Especially if you’re in the Mentalettes (in which case you would already know the hooks, of course, but you could give me tips, if you know what a mean).

The Riots “Trunceons, Shields and Size 10 Boots” b/w “Trunceons, Shields and Size 10 Boots” rebelsteppa dub mix

(CopaseDisques) This German release of British-obsessed Russian mods is so Clash-y it might as well have been pressed on plaid and striped vinyl, and so good it might as well have just been released as a lost 1977 single and we should just pay $100 for it off the bat. My only critique is that they are a little laid back for rioting bobby fighters, and, thus, the regular version is pretty dubby even before they dub remix it. But you know what my man Yakov Smirnof always says…In Russia 7” 45 spin you!

The Escatones "Out of Sight" b/w "East Beach Stomp"

(Artificial HeadTwo low key, high headed, 60s-centric psyche journeys (one featuring Paul Leary from the Butthole Surfers stretching out on psyche solo) that puts the extra bone in Escatone! If this is surf music (as Sean the Sean's cover art suggests) then that is one subdued wave. Maybe in Texas the boards are bigger and the water submits?

Monks of Mellonwah “Neurogenesis”

( Wonks of Mellon-why am I listening to this? If you answer, “Becuae I can’t get enough sub-prog prog rock, then you are not me! (congratulations on that, actually)

Al Rose "Sad Go Lucky"

( Sounds like Pete Seeger at his most affable parodying Bob Dylan. Cleve,r pleasant, thoughtful singer songwriter material that's hard to take totally seriously, but i don;t think we;re supposed to take it totally seriously.

Carlton Melton "Photos of Photos"

(Agitated) I'll prognosticate that this prog nosh is great! Atmospheric weirdness that's bigger than the inside of a black hole (note: I failed every science class in high school; if that is not actually a big thing, my apologies, not meant as an insult).

War Poets "Dulce et Decorum est"

( Heartland rock n roll with  a touch of 80s (pre-Alt Rock) college rock. Made me want to wage poetic peace!

Breadwinner "One," Micky Saunders & Dan Susnara "Known" w/ "Better Tomorrows"

(Mumble Mumble Music) Dan Susnara continues to stretch, having delivered one man band pop and crazed psyche story arcs in the past, he now comes out with  a one two punch sure to surprise any opponent. His left fist delivers experimental art collage pastiche soundscapes that make Ken Nordine sound like Patti Page. His right hand, with his right hand woman in his corner, songwriting partner Saunders, delivers late beatles-esque charmers. KO!