Monday, December 15, 2008

In Gravity's Rainbows. That's the Best I could Come Up With Given Short Notice. No please, don't fire me from Mad Magazine--" ...Oh, it was a dream..


“Hey bonita muchacha / Don't-cha know that I want-cha.”

Surprisingly, this is not the only embarrassingly white attempt at an ode to.. Mexican-ness or something from this year. But, I have to say, at least Jonathan Richman sings in Spanish and risks embarrassing himself, which is more than I can say for Brian Wilson (who just embarrasses himself unintentionally). That being said, “Good Kind of Love,” from That Lucky Old Sun, is probably one of my favorite songs of the year. Minor tip of the hat to Bri.

This is about 2008. But first, a flashback to 2002 or thereabouts:

[WIDE SHOT-ZOOM IN FROM NEATLY TRIMMED YARD TO THE WHITE FRONT DOOR WITH THE STRIPS OF GLASS ON THE SIDE AND THE NICE SCREEN DOOR. NOTE TO SELF: LEARN HOW TO WRITE LIKE SCREENPLAYS SO THIS DOESN’T SOUND STUPID]

Scene: A pale, palsied teenager with long hair (although it would look a lot better if he acquiesced and got it cut in layers, he insists on maintaining the image he has of himself in his head, something to do with Joey Ramone, I still don’t know) sits curled up on a couch, headphones in his ears and a CD player resting in his lap. Two albums sit stacked on the end table next to him. The CDs, you ask (wait, this is a screenplay, not a narrative)? End of the Century by the Ramones and II by the Meat Puppets. Cue comet flying overhead outside the window, a thousand years pass by, and still this moment is magic.

Satirical digressions aside, I feel like I need to place this block of text in some sort of biographical context. That moment actually was the beginning of me as I know myself now—to get a little too sentimental. I was raised without a passion for music, so I know it’s not biological; but, through my own efforts, I’ve made it the very stitching of my core being, etc. Feel free to let this paragraph continue for several more lines in your head, all this sincerity is exhausting.

The point, though, is that I like music. A lot. But until 2008, I never bothered to care about the cavalcade of new music that floods the market each year. There are literally hundreds of bands forming and falling apart every year, and most of them can only be found on the RSS feed of some tiny blog that you can’t even search for on Google. I didn’t listen to them all, but I tried to listen to a good portion of the North American bands with white members. That’s a joke, but I listened to maybe a handful of new rap albums this year, a handful of European punk bands with white members, and (flavor of the week) some compilations of African stuff. Music journalism is a joke, and so are these End of the Yr. lists, but with people like Sasha-Frere Jones insisting on racial binaries and using terms like “miscegenation” to describe music, it looks like respectability will be beyond our reach for a long time. Not that I’m a music journalist. I just like music, and I like to write. Gah, feel free to scroll down to the list if you haven't already--you're not missing much. I’ve listened so many bands this year, and I can only remember enough to come up with a handful of great albums from this year before having to scroll through my iTunes library and remember that one 7” that kind of sounded like the Ramones, I think, at first listen, six months ago. Seriously, with the exception of #1 on my list, I didn’t listen to any of these albums more than a handful of times. A lot of them I only listened to once or twice. But I will say this: At Least I Did Not Put Fleet Foxes On My List. That alone should give me a modicum of credibility.

Stuff of the Yr. in which this was written:

1. Howlin’ Rain – Magnificent Fiend
Sounds like Traffic.

2. Earth – The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull
DRUMS

3. Oneida – Preteen Weaponry
Oneida do Don Caballero. Is that even right? I don’t know, I thought of that comparison months ago and stashed it in some mental niche, and just now it popped out. Have to fill this space somehow.

4. Nomo – Ghost Rock
White guys doing afrobeat. So, basically Vampire Weekend. Ahah.

5. Goslings – Occasion
Pitchfork would probably say something like “shoegaze metal.”

6. The Howling Hex – Earth Junk
NO DRUMS

7. Jay Reatard – Matador Singles ‘08
Controversial, but I liked this collection better than the first singles collection.

8. Grails – Take Refuge in Clean Living
In the same vein as Sun City Girls, if you can appreciate music outside of a rock context. “Atmospheric post-rock with Middle-Eastern touches.” –something I would probably say if I were a professional reviewer.

9. Cloudland Canyon – Lie in Light
Kraut. “You & I,” another potential song for someone’s crappy 2008 mix CD that no one will listen to.

10. Arthur Russel – Love is Overtaking Me
Yeah, posthumous, but “Nobody Wants a Lonely Heart” is too moving not to be on this guy’s crappy list.

11. Pumice – Quo
New Zealand lo-fi. New Zealand rules.

12. Wooden Shjips – Vol. 1
Three compilations on this list? They all deserve it, though. Oh, this band is distorted psych. That really doesn’t tell you much. Musicians nowadays really are fond of extended jams clouded in distortion.

12. Shit and Shine – Cherry
“The Rabbit Song” is the apotheosis of cool stoner psychedelic kraut noise rock. Nice, a bunch of adjectives.

13. Blank Dogs – On Two Sides
I could do an entire list full of the noisy lo-fi punk/pop bands from this year, because there were a lot for whatever reason. Blank Dogs come out ahead of the pack, though.

14. Sapat – Mortise and Tenon
Hats off to Siltbreeze for putting out so many good albums this year. Tied with Not Not Fun for Best Label of the Year According to Pale Guy Writing From His MacBook.

15. Islaja – Blaze Mountain Recordings
Paavoharju never clicked with me, but I liked most of the other Fonal Records albums from this year. This one especially.

16. AFCGT – S/T CD-r
A Frames playing with the Climax Golden Twins. I previously described “Old Spy” and “Young Spy” as “noise-surf.” Stupid, but I need to write something in this space.

17. Pocahaunted – Island Diamonds
These girls released a lot of albums this year, and I only listened to a few. This was the best of them, though.

18. Boston Spaceships – Brown Submarine
Robert Pollard’s new band. I could’ve seen them in town, but I was busy with homework. Heard they were good.

19. Jonathan Richman – Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild
Song about Vermeer.

20. Headache City – Headache City
“Tearjerker” would be near the top of the 2008 song list if I had the energy to make one. Sounds like Television.

Bands I forgot: Eat Skull, Jacuzzi Boys, Vivian Girls, Burning Star Core, Birchville Cat Motel, Four Tet, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Boris, Sic Alps, Cheveu, Children’s Hospital, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Silver Jews, Sparks, Wire (really, the last two I tried to like, but they were decidedly subpar albums, at least compared to those artists’ best albums. Which is an awful way to judge an album, but what are you going to do?), Mudhoney, Stereolab, Static Static, Kim Phuc, Stnnng, Valet, Grouper, Wavves, U.S. Girls, other people, etc.

I probably should’ve put this at the top of the article, but Note to Readers: don’t ever try and keep up with a year’s worth of albums, because it isn’t worth it. I feel very tired, and music is little consolation, despite what some people would tell you (the same people who put Fleet Foxes in their list, no doubt). Art is useless and Good Guys Sit On the Couch & Watch Frasier Re-runs While Assholes Get The Girl.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

36. The Hillbilly Avant-Garde



Don't have a bunch of my usual wacky horsedootz this time, just a few words about Henry Flynt. Found out about him through Alan Licht's Minimalism Top 10 lists (which has since become a Top 30, and can be found in, among other places, the Root Blog, for which there's a link farther down and on the right). Found out also that a whole passel of Flynt's stuff can be found on Locust Music and Ampersand Records, labels that anyone interested in good music should be interested in (full disclosure: Dawson Prater, the label head, used to live here and we used to play spades together, and once drunkenly offered to release a double album of my stand-up; the fact that I don't do stand-up is indicative of the aridity of Dawson's humor).

Henry Flynt is a backwoods avant-garde prankster and the two pieces I'm putting up, You Are My Everlovin' and Celestial Power, are epic fiddle ragas that make me wish I still did downers. This is all-night drive to Waco music, folks. The first pits his absolutely incredible fiddle against a classical Indian drone; the culture clash is only there if you put it there. The second piece's drone is even richer, mellow string stabs that end up sounding not unlike light saber practice drills. Flynt has a way of coaxing the most amazing high-string runs out of his fiddle that I have ever, ever heard, scattering notes like light through a prism. I can't do it justice; you just gotta hear it. Then go buy some shit from Dawson; he just had a kid and probably needs the scratch.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

35. The Country Western Robot Cries Again


It's a cold hard metal fact that the saddest sounding American instrument is the pedal steel, and the reason for this is simple: way back when we (you and I) were making America, steel guitars were strung with the tendons of unhappy dead people. This was in fact before steel had been discovered during a cave-in in Hazard County, West Virginia, which provided several more "redneck theremins." Technology and America remorselessly moving on, we no longer call this "country pleader" the pedal tendon. Another reason is that that is fuggin' gross, man.

It is another fact that everyone thinks about robots all the time. And why not? They're funny when they put on dresses and heroic when little itty-bitty ones saved Uncle Ferd after that botched Panamanian angioplasty. And it's also funny when someone refers to 'our robot overlords,' because it's better to laugh at the hideous truth than to cry.

And that's something robots don't do (cry). This simple statement is axiomatic to literally every piece of music made in England from 1979-1985 and gave us the non-Euclidean wonder of the Flock of Seagulls haircut. Robots cannot cry, for we have made them not as we are (see Ripley Scott's neat-o Vangelis video "Blade Runnings" for more on this) but as we wish we could be. We have made them stoic and without Gods and with laser eyes so they never need bottle openers.
But what would it be like if robots could, in fact, cry, wail, gnash their geary teeth? Well, it would probably sound like Pete Drake, the man who created the Talkbox. You have heard the Talkbox. Deep-sea worms have heard the Talkbox. Here's why: "Do You Feel Like I Do?" That's why. You heard that three times a day until you were allowed to pick the radio station, cause Dad still has one of those beerhats with the straws and a Peter Frampton shirt.

My point being, Pete Drake was a king-hell pedal steel player, and he invented the Talkbox. So take the keen of the pedal steel, and then pull it out of shape and have it sing at you.

'But I hate country!' I hear you say, and I am reminded yet again that you are a hideous little quasi-person. Listen: download these albums and if you don't like them, if they don't sound like literally nothing else you've ever heard, then I'll refund your costs. I'll refund the costs with my boot up your ass.

34. Please Hold (Ghana - High-Life and Other Popular Music [Saka Acquaye and His African Ensemble])


I am on hold. I am on hold, it is near freezing and I am waiting for Shane. I am waiting for Shane to arrive with the part. When the part comes, Shane will be with it and he will mount the part and then I will never see Shane again. I am on hold.

I called my own Company, the one I have worked for for twenty-six years, and I am on hold. I could call those years by number or letter, a through z. I try to think of people I know from a to z. Somewhere around d I give up. The music from hold is very pleasant. I don't know what it is.
When first I needed the part, I did not know what it was I needed. The first place I went to looked at me and said, "We don't have a computer. Engines, they need a computer. Why don't you go down the road and see Shane." Shane wasn't there, was sick. But his boss said "Let's see what the computer says." It said I needed a part. Shane's boss said "Let's see if we can't get Shane in here." That's why Shane is coming with the part. Thanks, Shane.

"Hold please." Why are you pleading with me. You are going to put me on hold anyway. You are perpetuating the illusion that we are having a dialogue here. You are perpetuating here the illusion that I had the choice to say "Yes I will hold thank you" or "No I would rather not hold if you please." You are perpetuating the illusion that if I had said "No I Would Rather Not Hold If You Please" then you would have done something different. We both know this not to be the case. I don't fault you, I am just saying.

Shane has been sick since last Wednesday. "What he's got I don't wanna get" said Shane's boss. But he's coming in to mount my part. Thank you Shane. You're a good man. I am assuming. Maybe you beat your wife. Maybe you eat sour cream out of the container and hit your wife. I don't know. I try not to judge. Based on the limited amount of information I have about you, Shane, I have to say it: you are a good man.

I would like a copy of this hold music. It is making my wait more pleasant. This wait is still not pleasant but the music makes it more so. My time on hold gives me the chance to reflect on my falling standing at the Company. I would never have been put on hold before Keller. Before Keller I was golden. That was twenty-five years ago. Twenty-five years ago my calls go straight to the top. Since Keller my calls take the scenic route. Since Keller I have become a connoisseur of hold music. Since Keller I have become a hold music gourmand. This is good hold music. It might be the best. When Shane comes I shall recommend it to him. We will see what happens.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

33. Roots Manuva- Brand New Second Hand



Get me some jerk chicken. These beans on toast just aren't cutting it any more. I've been slogging it out in this goddamn charnel house for 8 long years and haven't had one damn meal that tiny tim wouldn't turn his nose up at. I'm about to hulk out here. Or at least to threaten to hulk out and maybe slam down some dockets in the in tray quite hard.

Everyone here hates me anyway, I see how Luke casts his eyes to the left whenever he sees me and starts throwing hudu at me like it was on clearance. And they think that i didn't see that fetishised sparrow skull in my drawer. Took a damn month of good deeds to wipe that shit clean. I should just let these hillbilly fucks rot, I'd like to see how many hexes they could get cleared in a month when no one is doing the paperwork for them, since their combined reading comprehension level is about 3rd grade.

I mean I can deal with never getting invited to their bowling night, I can deal with correcting all the spelling errors in their ridiculous pamphlets, I can even tolerate Lukumi bowling in here every whitsun to raise a storm over our cleansings and making a bloody mess of my filing cabinets. What I can't take is a 'culture' that thinks that pig intestines make for good eating. Send me back to Brixton and get me some jerk chicken, I'm wasting away out here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

32. The Appman Reviews: Kanye West - "808's and Heartbreak"

There are few albums on this accursed Terra that truly vex me, but I knew another was on the way. The fools chorus that sings the praises of OK Computer, Dude Ranch, and others of their ilk. Jeremy playing Adam's Song on repeat, telling me, "Matt, this is just the greatest song." Nay, Jeremy. Nay. I could feel the bile climb up my throat, scaling with the hooks and chains of hatred that usually only arise when I have to talk to the idiots in my Poli Sci 303 discussion group. They don't know anything about the effects of capitalism. Just wait until the bodies of those it hurts wash up on their shores. Then they'll fucking know.

But then through Mandy's livejournal post I was directed to the album 808's and Heartbreak by Mr. Kanye West. She told me that I should check it out (Heh. She doesn't know me at all!). Let's be clear: the only "heartbreak" I felt was on account of wasting my precious time on queuing it up in Azureus next to the Batman Annual. The vocal masturbation of Mr. West is palpable, "borrowing" from too many artists that will never see the light of day because he is clogging the drains with his incessantly abhorrent and frankly annoying melodies. I have major issues with this album, Mandy. Mayhaps if he took off those ridiculous sunglasses he could see the problems of poor structure in "Say You Will" (Six minutes of choral samples? Heh, what does Kanye think this is: Castlevania?), or the gimmicky hooks of "Love Lockdown". "Heartless", another single off the album, just reeks of vocal synthesizers, a crutch of the modern musician. Do you think They Might Be Giants just flipped a couple switches when they sometimes messed up their wonderful vocals? Never. They just went back and did it again.

And how dare he besmirch the auteur Paul Verhoeven by naming a song "RoboCop". You aren't fit to mention a movie of his, let alone form the basis of a song around a seminal film. It just enrages me when artists like him just toss around the apexes of culture to just get tweenagers to pluck their album off the Wal-Mart shelf, a true Commedia dell'arte. I can't even look at this Zip file anymore, makes me sweat at the thought. I'm sorry, Mandy. I'm sorry. But my opinions are paramount, and I cannot remain tightlipped about this. Please don't be angry with me. Please. You're all I have.

31. Denki Groove - Voxxx



Denki Groove are most widely known of for being remixed by Paul Van Dyk on Vorsprung Dyk Technik (for the uninitiated you might think of his work as trance, only not crap). Their connection to that genre is only tangential though, as the body of their work is a 20 year slide from electro-pop to techno. Personally they are notable for being played in clubs at the time in my life all 14 year old boys go through, when you realise that that wispy moustache does not make you look older, and that shaving it will give you a chance of getting into clubs.

The group's mainstay is Takkyu Ishino (you know you are listening to some hardcore underground scene music when the artist doesn't even have a wikipedia page). Notable mainly for closing out the 98 Berlin Love Parade with a crowd of 1.5 million goddamn people, Ishino's solo catalogue is also well worth looking through if you are into that beepy boopy kind of affair.

The band permit me the dangerous fantasy that I can dance, until I catch sight of myself and realise that I'm whiter than the right honourable Jim Hacker channelling Churchill. Once I've gotten over my Chris Langham levels of shame though the music once more frees me to a level of elation unknown since I was 7 years old, decked out in pyjamas and dancing to remember you're a womble. So come along, regress with me.


30. Logorrhea in Command (Crazy Wisdom Masters - The Payback EP)



TheJungletheJungletheBrotherstheBrothersmadethisalbum
tootsweetandthelabelshitcanneditbecausethey
couldnotgettheyheadsaroundtheliteralnextshitthenextthenextshit
sotheyJBssmokedanothershittonofweed
whichwasprobablyloveboatlikegavinmccloudfloatinginonacloudand
sentitovertoSkiztheWhizCrooklynbred
outtaWordWoundWordSoundWordWoundWordBoomill90slabeland
SkizzaidOKI'llpaybuteveryonestillsleptonitlike
Serta.

29. Two Stories and an Aborted Joke Featuring Yi Yi Thant (White Elephants and Golden Ducks/ Princess Nicotine)



1.
Yi Yi Thant, vocalist from the walled nation of Myanmar (formerly known in the west as Burma), stood next to her rented car. Either steam or smoke was pouring from the hood, she wasn't going to get close enough to tell the difference. Well, at least she broke down close to civilization. Such as they call it round here. What the hell am I doing in this place, she thought. The sun quivered at the tree tops, miles away.
"It was going just fine and then it started making this horrible noise and then it did this." She mimed being jerked forward three times, her face still serene, eyes closed. The mechanic nodded. "Well, worst case is yer timin chain. Which case ain't much I nor no-one else can do for yuh othern lend you a yellow pages. But I think it may be your plugs. Whyncha go on over to my pa's place next door, they got a rhubarb pie what kin't by beat not by a mile."
It suddenly occured to me that this joke, which hinges on a penguin messily eating an ice cream sundae, wouldn't really work with Yi Yi Thant as the protagonist because not only does she have hands, she also has opposable thumbs and she eats with utensils like anyone else.

2.
Yi Yi Thant, blessed with a voice that sounded like gold leaf lazily peeled from an angel's halo and floating down to Earth, looked grim.
"I don't think... said Murph.
"You keep doing that," snapped Thant. Her jewelry shifted with the sound of wet pebbles where her silk robe had sweated through.
The Lookout still stood. Smoke curled from its sensory array.
"Fuck this," muttered Murph and he stood up. "Don't" said Thant but she didn't finish because Murph became a crimson cloud from the waist up, blown to shit by the Lookout's gatling-gauss. His legs did a pratfall on his ass. Is that still his ass?, Thant thought.
There was a hollow clicking sound as the timed explosive arrow Thant had shot caught, and the Lookout exploded, crumbling slowly at first and then with increasing speed directly down, like the earth swallowing it whole.
Thant brushed a lock of raven hair from her eye. She thought that if this was a movie she would say something snappy here, but it wasn't, it was war.

3.
It was another hot day in a string of hot days that I knew I was genetically incapable of ever getting used to. It felt like my chromosomes were sweating. I had taken to bringing a box of cornstarch with me wherever I went when I was here, and excusing myself at intervals and sprinkling some on my chapped and swampy crotch. Consequently last week I caught myself in my room's full-length mirror one day and I thought I looked like I had been snorting cocaine through my cock.
I got to the city and that was most of it right there. Here's how much money I had left: three hundred forty four dollars. That would get me a pretty good hotel room here for as long as I needed, plus one night a week of hokily acrobatic yodelling with one of the locals. It wouldn't buy me a ticket home from Burma, but after a week or ten days I found myself thinking about it less and less, getting to like it, then love it. The heat, though, kept reminding me that I wasn't from here. That and the cornstarch gravy I kept making with my taint.
There were a lot of things I wanted to ask her. How it felt to be the archetypical songbird in a gilded cage, almost unheard outside of Myanmar. Was she frightened. Did she think of it. Did she ever wonder how it would be, living in the free world. The millions she would make with her voice. I had all these questions written down on hotel stationary, provided by the sincerely smiling clerk. When you are such a powerful symbol, do you feel it. Did it change how she felt. How did she feel knowing that she
The phone book was open on the desk, and for the next two hours here in the city the phone would work. Again, I ran my finger down the page of curled script to the number; again, I dialed; again, Yi Yi Thant answered the phone.
"Min gar la bar?", she said
Again, I put the phone on the desk and closed my eyes, listening.
"Min gar la bar?", she said.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

28. FUCK (Barbara Hendricks. Georges Pretre - Orchestre National de France / Poulenc - Gloria, Stabat Mater)



Holy shit, this is fucking great. This fucking rules. I just listened to this for the first time in years and this owns, it totally owns. It goes BA, BA, BADA and it's got this part where the chick just goes apeshit. The band owns too. I mean, the orchestra. This is fucking great French music. Holy fuck, I think I just pissed myself. I'm listening to the "Qui sedet ad dexteram patris" part and I better move my laptop or else I'm gonna shock my pud! Yep, I pissed myself. My daughter just said her first words! They were "What the fuck is this fucking awesome shit you're playing?" Whoops, definitely electrocuted my cock just there.

Francis Poulenc was a French guy and he did "Litanies a la Vièrge Noire" and "Quatre Prières Pour Une Temps de Penitence" but those are fucking guano compared to this. And I like those pieces! I sang them in college! Afterwards I would get drunk with all the other faggots who sang them with me and sing em again! They were that good! This is better! Holy shit, I just remembered: we sang this too! My balls just dropped AGAIN. My balls had already dropped once (hence existence of daughter) but listening to this absolutely fuckeriffic piece by "Les Six" member Poulenc has caused my balls to drop A SECOND TIME. Now I gotta be careful when I walk to the "Simply Catfood" store else I'm gonna be playing bocce with my testes.

This has some really cool dissonance in that one part and a couple of others and it's got this fucking awesome theme that goes BA, BA, BADA which I referenced in the first paragraph and basically every asshole that came after him ripped him off and they can all SUCK MY DICK. If you do not download this I will come to your house and pee on you. I will rip up your newspapers and shit in your oven. This is so cool I think I'm going to go out and BUY IT. Even better: I am going to put the fifteen bucks or however much a CD costs these days in a pile with a note that says "TO FRANCIS POULENC FUCKING IN HEAVEN" and burn it, that way he'll get it in the afterlife (he died because after he wrote this his cock became so huge that when he got an erection all the blood went to his cock and deflated his head). Wow, what a neato-burrito heavy fugginay piece of 17th-level paladin style AWESOME.

27. Crush That Hippie, Hand Me the Pliers, I Think I'm Bowie



A while ago, during one of the Decades That Didn't Happen, I lived with a guy whose name I won't tell you, because I would have to be a total asshole to reveal that kind of information. Let's just call him Lichen Almighty; he had a real name that he didn't use (except on paychecks) but in normal everyday discourse he wanted you to call him this intensely hippyish name.

Now, Lichen was, in fact, a hippie. An unregenerate hippie. Although he didn't grow up in the 50's and 60's, so he could never be a real hippie. That suited him just fine, because, as a rule, Lichen HATED hippies. He hated the swirling, empty-headed lot of them. He called them 'blissninnies.' It struck me that Lichen was the best kind of hippie, that rarest kind of hippie: the kind that actually THOUGHT about the boilerplate peacenluv before he puked it up by rote.

In between knife hits and the occasional bump of the very worst Central Virginia cocaine (which invariably had been stepped on more often than a Burger King doormat and could always be counted on to bring on a two week sinus infection), Almighty Lichen and I would talk about how the 60's were one of our culture's biggest lies. Then he would whip out his acoustic guitar, but by then I was usually drunk enough to let it pass.

Which brings me to the Firesign Theatre: four hippies who simply were not buying it. Any of it. The wholesale swallowing of a readymade counter-culture. The lack of critical thought. Peace and love as buzzwords. Of course, being hippies in the era of Nixon, they were shooting back at both sides. And in one dense side-long piece, entitled "Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde," they posited an alternate version of the history of the United States that manages to surgically maul both Leary and Kissinger, Me Generation and My Lai. Fuck Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky: this is what your history teacher didn't teach you. Have a knife hit on me and listen with headphones.

26. Very Loud It Play (Butthole Surfers - Double Live)



There was a day when a man would have been frightened to see the Butthole Surfers. And that didn't make him less of a man. Better men than you shit themselves when they smelled the Surfers' tourbus come to town; women would spontaneously abort and the fetuses would get up and do security for the show.

Part of why it is so hard to believe is because the Surfers have been so god-damn [i]awful[/i] for so long now. Anyone remember Weird Revolution? Electriclarryland? (To be fair, "Pepper" was a great song, probably their last great song.) Independent Worm Saloon? You do? Wow, do you have a music blog?

But there was a day when people didn't know what to make of these motherfuckers, and that day is captured perfectly here on Double Live. This was back when Matter magazine ran a one-page on them where the band played up the backwoods vibe, frowning their way through dinner in New York ("What the fuck is this lin-gwine stuff?") and boiling life down to waking up somewhere, getting stoned and drinking beer, and leading the author to opine that they very well might have room-temperature IQs.

The cassette I had of it was type written, with some sort of child with an exposed spine reaching out to the audience on the cover; it came out on their own Latino Bugger Veil Music and the instructions were "very loud it play." And this is exactly what you should do. These people were not stupid, as Corey Rusk will bitterly tell you. They did have musical tastes that ran 'dumb' to the indie tastes of the day; they didn't name their dog 'Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad' for nothing. If anything, this might be the cassette that got me listening, however infrequently, to classic rock again. Leary's guitar is prime psych throughout, and who is Gibby Haynes, after all, but Ted Nugent on drugs? Many drugs? All drugs?

(Broken into four pieces.)

25. The Link Between Deviant Sex and Religion Finally Explained. (Ultra Vivid Scene - s/t)



This Blog Entry is the First True Explanation Linking the Above Concepts Ever. Don't Be Fooled By Imitators (Like That Fuck, Hieronymous T. Shitbird).


Let's face it, shall we? There is a reason that some people masturbate over the concept (and indeed, sometimes the execution of the concept) of the leather nun. I'm doing it as I type this missive; in a cave in the Appalachian Mountains, next cave over from Eric Rudolph's in fact, Osama bin Laden is busy pounding it to a pirated copy of "Sisters in Black 12" he shoplifted from a Stop'n'Go. Alan Greenspan gets 'irrationally exuberant' (to coin a phrase) at the thought of Sister Mary Elephant with a cat o' nine tails. Mohandas Ghandi, Leo Tolstoy and Leonid Brezhnev all badgered the witness, beat the bishop, buffed the porpoise while thinking of those stern Sisters of Mercy.

And why not? Why the hell not? Religion is submission. I even think there's a religion [i]called[/i] submission (although it doesn't have nuns, much). And who's in charge of religion? Nuns.

Notice I'm talking about Catholicism. That's because Protestant religion is a misnomer. Protestantism is more of a country club. Why? No submission. Point set and MATCH, motherfucker.

While were at it, the French were right: orgasms ARE 'the little death.' And who is in charge of who gets to go where in the afterlife? Nuns. They let Saint Peter park the cars. Nuns have the organization, and those rulers they smack on tables. Yowch!

Nuns are Brides of Christ. So when you're whacking off over one dressed like Catwoman (the nun, not you, possibly), you're committing a DOUBLE SECRET SIN. You're coveting AND spilling your seed. So you're TWICE the pervert. That's freeing. Knowing that you're such a sexual badass will allow you to drive five miles an hour over the speed limit and eat that second helping of blondie pie.

In summation, the act of strumming on the old ban-jo while clenching an alb between your gritted teeth is not only normal, it is beneficial. It allows us to walk our submissive sides around the block without the potential heartache of your friends and loved ones asking about that new whip welt.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

24. NATSUMEN - NEVER WEAR OUT yOUR SUMMER xxx !!!


NATSUMEN are a recent and very elusive Japanese band that describe their music as "“Japanese Progressive HardCore JAZZ Aggressive Improvisation ROCK". As far as I know they've released two albums and an EP and were perhaps broken-up some time last year, although their website http://www.natsumen.net/ seems to be advertising both a new show and a new record (?). The band was formed from the ashes of BOaT, a similar Japanese band. All the members have names like A×S×E and KO1 TSUTAYA, and all played in various other bands before joining NATSUMEN. Their other album, Endless Summer Record, is much closer to a sort jazzy post-rock and noise, almost in the vein of Ground Zero, while NEVER WEAR OUT yOUR SUMMER xxx !!! - unquestionably badass title - is firmly acid jazz. From the start it's wild as hell and almost feels like a live performance at some points. Pretty much motherfucking fuck ass badassery here.


This one goes out to my acid jazz mate Milde, see yer in four months or so all!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

23. A House Call With Two Clems Holistic Towing and Hex Removal Service



Yeah, sorry I was late, we had a long night. Gets to be a full moon and everyone thinks they got some kinda hoodoo laid on 'em. Usually I just pour salt on their doorstep.

Hmmm? No, salt is some powerful stuff but I... yeah, course I know how to use it. Now, clem was telling me you got an obeah man you done told to get out? Hmm. Yeah. No, it ain't a problem. You got some holy water?

Yeah, I'll walk you through it. But if you don't unnerstand jes check the pamphlet. After i'm gone. And if I got my eyes closed, don't do nothin. Jes stay still. Cuz I'm gettin up on some loas. They cranky this time of the mornin.

Now ok, kin I git some room up here on this here mantel? Why? Cause I wanna sit on it. No that's a joke. No, I gotta set up a shrine. You got pets? You gotta iguana. Wass the iguana name. "Looie." Don't let the iguana up on the mantel. He don' look like he get aroun much anyhows.

Aight now mam I'mma set this thing on fire so you might want to turn off yer smoke beeper. In fact, you might jes wanna take it down off the wall. Cause I'm gonna smoke a ham in here, thass why. No mam that was a joke. I gotta burn this message get it on up to Kendun who is the loa of openings. No mam he don't have a phone.

See now, that sumbitch luke... now I worked with him and all I kin say is someone din't treat him right. Or leastways that's what he think. He's all about curse this and curse that and down the lanes I seen him throw a 7-10 split and you know what he do? He damn hell curse the damn bowlin alley. Come back round midnight with some his graveyard dirt. Well I jes slip round back after he lef and sweep it up and put the sign of David on the dumpster and tell you what: that bowlin alley still standin.

Ok mam how you feel about candles? I guess that's what you call one of them rhetorical questions cause we gon have to get some candles in here. Now this here is St. Mark's candle. Smell that. Yeah it's pretty rank. See the wick there? See how it's all lumpy? That's cause it's the paw of a black cat. Good lord mam, get down offa that chair.

Okey now, watch them candles cause there's packets in there and the fire gonna jump ever so often. Now we don't want yer house on fire do we now. No mam. You can have all the luck in the world, your house catch on fire you gonna be the luckiest old girl in the rain. No mam I don't mean yer old.

How you sleep? I mean you sleep good? Wake up? Gotta pee? Sorry mam I gotta be thorough. An obeah man he'll scarify your dreams. He'll take an awl and puncture the sides. No mam I ain't tryin to scare you I jes want you to know. You dream a red sky? No mam don't matter whethern it were at night or at mornin, we ain't plannin a sailin trip. Lessen you got one of them yachts which case I would suggest you get on it, yer lookin at a first mate. No mam I don't think you got a yacht. I kin't hoist no sail anyhow.

No mam I ain't from Loosianne. I'm from galax virginner. Son of Wilbur and Corinna. No mam she was a schoolteacher, he was a welder of some sort. No mam I picked this up at Devry. Well it were a Devry in Loosianne.

Now this here I yer John-the-conqueroo, what some call mandragon and othern call ginseng. You see it looks like a man. Well, I ain't seen no man what looked like that but you get the idea of the thing. Now what you you gotta do is put this in yer armpit and then keep it kindly there for til the new moon. No mam that would be up to you. I know folk what made a little sling for it. No it got a pleasant smell. No mam I ain't wearin one but I ain't got no obeah man pokin through my delicates. No mam I was not inferring anything by that. No mam I was not.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

21. <---???---> (Sublime Frequencies: Radio India - The Eternal Dream of Sound)


When does that asshole want it? Friday? Kiss my ass. Kiss my BLACK ASS. No, that's not racism, Harry, I'm clearly not black and I said it in my white voice. Shut up Harry. It's this file, that's what the fucking problem is! Have you seen it? Fucking Manesh in Bangladore put it through a god-damn blender! No that's not racism, Harry, if you look at the file it has all the marks of an Indian blender. Fuck friday. Fuck fuck fuck.

God-dammit, if those cocksuckers think I am putting in ONE FUCKING SECOND of overtime those fat fucks have another think coming. I am taking an HOUR for lunch EVERY FUCKING DAY and I am leaving at FOUR FUCKING FIFTY NINE every afternoon and if they don't like it they can FUCK THEMSELVES. All because fucking Anoop fed the fucking file to a fucking COW. Fuck you Harry, they love cows over there, they feed them all sorts of shit.

Did you SEE all the goddamn tags on that fucker? Did you SEE it? It looks like someone shot the fucking xml with a paint gun. What the FUCK, did they fucking OCR the fucker with their FOREHEADS? 'Zat where all the god-damn fucking @s come from, that fucking dot on their foreheads? Shut the fuck up Harry, you gonna deny they got dots on their foreheads?

"SystemID: C:\Intelex_Local\pastmasters\convert\peirce_w\peirce_w.02.xml. Description: There is no schema or DTD associated with the document. You can create an association either with the Associate Schema action or configuring in the Options the Preferences/Document Type Association list, or by creating a Validation Scenario." SOMEBODY WANNA MAKE A COMPUTER THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME WANT TO PUKE BLOOD? Jesus fuck. Jesus fuck. I'll associate YOUR fucking DTD. I'll fucking give you NINETEEN FUCKING STDS and give the rest to fucking Ranjeep's fucking mother. No, I don't know Ranjeep, Harry, he lives in fucking Delhi or some shit.

A fucking validation scenario? Here's a motherfucking validation scenario: I get in a fucking plane... no, there aren't any fucking SNAKES on the plane, do I look like Samuel L. Jackson in a fucking MOVIE, Harry, this is REAL LIFE I'm talking here.... I get on a plane, I fly to Motherfuckabad or whatever pile of cowshit that cocksucker Salman lives in, I show him my fucking computer, I show him the file, AND THEN I FORCEFEED HIM VISTA CODE UNTIL HE FUCKING GETS REINCARNATED AS A MOTHERFUCKING SOCK PUPPET. They BELIEVE that shit over there, Harry. you believe me? You dumbshit. Harry, you are the world's dumbshit.

WHO THE FUCK SAID THAT, HARRY. I'll fucking regular-expression-search THEM. Here's one: my fist search his fuckin FACE replace FACE with my FIST. Repeat. 256 times a fuckin second. Cocksucker, I was using fucking regular expression searches when that fat fuck was was writing HELLO in fuckin basic on his motherfucking Speak and Spell. They were toys, Harry. You spelled shit and then it said it, how fucking, how fucking obvious I gotta be Harry. Keep up with me, Harry, you stupid sack of shit.

Shit like this is why I drink. Shit like this is why I drink RIGHT THE FUCK HERE AT MY DESK! Shut up Harry, not so fuckin loud, you wanna get me shitcanned? Is that what you want Harry, get the only guy who will fucking look you in the eye around this shithole shitcanned? Maybe you want Nusrat to come over here, take my fucking desk? Make you a fucking curry? You asshole. Fuck you, man, I got seniority round here. I been here since the fuckin CEO was fucking outsourcing his fuckin lemonade stand.

You know what the fuck they listen to, Harry? You know what they listen to? Indians, Harry. HARRY, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME. Here's what they listen to: REORGGNNN WA WA WA WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. It sounds like motherfucking cats in a horrible automobile accident. It's no goddamn wonder they can't FORMAT A MOTHERFUCKING OCR. Look at this fucker, Harry. LOOK AT IT. It looks like the fucking riddler's underwear, a bunch of shit and question marks. Fucking file is about as useful as a papier-maché dildo.

"(a )m and (a" 'Should I read this?' Should I read this. Shit, read the hell out of it. Take it to the beach for some light reading. Fucking Mooshipoor can't read it, I can't read it, Harry can't fuckin read AT ALL, somebody oughta fuckin read it. I'm supposed to make this legible? With what, a pair of goddamn tweezers and an iron will to live? THE FUCK DO I MAKE 14 AN HOUR FOR AFTER ALL, take a bunch of random fuckin characters and make a goddamn book out of it. You know who reads these fuckers? Not Mooshipoor, Harry, that motherfucker is reading the goddamn wackjob bible somewhere. I'll tell you who read this. Assholes, Harry. A bunch of assholes.

Yeah, c'mon back when your head clears up, I'll show you a bunch of shit that looks like it got typed by Booboo the 13-armed fuckup Indian god in charge of FUCKING MY LIFE UP.

Harry, c'mere. I got a joke. I got a joke. I'M GONNA TELL YOU A JOKE HARRY, JESUS CHRIST, WHADDAYOU THINK I'M GONNA KISS YOU? It's gonna take a shitload more than you to make me queer, Harry, you can ask your wife. Here's a joke Harry. Knock knock. Who's there, say who's there, Harry. Thank you. Raji. Say Raji-who, Harry. Jesus. Raji who? RAJI I AM GONNA FUCKING GIVE YOU A STEEL-TOE TONSILLECTOMY FROM THE ASS-END, RAJI YOU DON'T LEARN YOUR FUCKING TRADE. That IS the joke you asshole.

Where the fuck did they learn NESTING, motherfucking Ganesh's School for I Don't Know What the Fuck? I can see it now, motherfucking first period: look out for cows! Second period: hey ain't those cows great! Third period... yeah, i'm gonna give you the entire fucking schedule, Harry, like YOU got something better to do. Third period: OCRing with a motherfucking hammer! THEY OCRED THIS WITH A FUCKING HAMMER, HARRY. What? Grep? Speak fucking English, the queen's English Harry, you sound worse than fucking Baji. Grep? I'LL GREP YOUR FUCKING ASS, HARRY.

IT guy? You're looking at him. Harold T. Fuckface right here, the IT guy. Hey Harry, whaydoncha tell him your qualifications? Christ, what did your resume look like, "qualifications: fucked up a two-car funeral?" I'm just kidding. Harry's not the IT guy. He's just a codeslinger like me. Well, not like me, you get the point. IT guy? Fuck the it guy. He's got a fucking earring. He probably thinks everything is dandy. It's gonna be dandy before I arrive at his house with Jesus in a cab and fucking plaster THIS MOTHERFUCKING FILE on his face with a hot glue gun.

Fuck it. Just fuck it. I'm getting tanked. You watch. You watch, Harry. They're gonna miss me. Who the fuck pulled them out when the goddamn "Gesämtliche Werke" was TWO FUCKING WEEKS behind. Yeah, Harry, you did. My mother's a virgin and my dad is the god-damn Colossus of Rhodes. I FUCKIN' PULLED 60 HOURS IN A WEEK ON THE UMLAUT JOB. Now every time I see a goddamn umlaut I wanna puke. I went to the goddamn record store, ended up tossing my fucking eggos on a Blue Oyster Cult record.

Monday, September 15, 2008

20. Savage Republic - Ceremonial (1985)


Savage Republic is one of the few great post-punk bands of the 80s still releasing quality material, although they've yet to top 1985's Ceremonial. In the beginning their work was typical harsh sounding post-punk with an industrial hint and strange chanted lyrics being their gimmick or spin on that style, but as they went on that industrial side grew to be more than a hint as they explored the unique instrumental drone for which they became known. Over the eight tracks on this album - some releases have nine, including the track "Valetta" from the Trudge EP, but this one doesn't because I'm bad with computers - Savage Republic show off both the hypnotic drone of later releases and the post-punk jams in the vein of New Order or The Pop Group that made up their early work in a combination not matched since. The whole thing is great but the tracks Andelusia, Walking Backwards, and, one of my all time favourite songs, Dionysius, are the most memorable. Fun and fast songs like those have a broad appeal to fans of more pop-ish or dance-y music and to anyone into noise, drone, and industrial.


Download here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 - Wormed, by Leonard


Ok, so this isn't Pitchfork, so I'm not going to call TFUL282 "Captain Beefheart on cough syrup" or "Captain Beefheart on glue" or "Captain Beefheart on something I found growing in the basement while listening to lots of Sonic Youth albums."  Jokes aside, there is a profound Beefheart influence, even if it is viewed through the lens of indie rock.  Not math rock or pure indie rock or even full on "experimental," I really am at a loss as to how to label these guys.  "Lo-fi?" But that's such a cop-out term.  At times caught up in a plaintive, tuneful pop piece, the next minute they retreat back into the hole they came out of and launch into a weird dirge similar to early Royal Trux, which is no wonder, seeing as how Wormed, by Leonard, their first album, came out in 1988--the same year as the first eponymous Trux album.  Good year for cool albums that place a high priority on eccentricity?  I don't know, 1988 also produced Daydream Nation, which was basically an overlong snoozefest, so I guess my theory's torn to shreds.

"Narlus Spectre," a "romping" surfy Morricone-esque jam, is the highlight of the album, which incidentally, is over an hour long.  But don't let that make you nervous, it's an enjoyable hour or so filled with hilarous monologues about dogs and the greatest cover of "Superstar"--made famous by the Carpenters and lots of other people--ever recorded (fuck off, Juno fans).  Speaking of Sonic Youth, I should probably mention that these guys owe a huge debt to Thurston et al.  Wormed, by Leonard is recommended for fans of, I don't know, Confusion is Sex and EVOL-era SY.  Also check this out if you've ever found yourself wishing Pavement would have played something a little less accessible or that Sebadoh hadn't been so obsessed with classic rock and weren't so fond of songs about weed and masturbating.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

18. The Correct Use of the Homocidal Parenthesis (The Lovin' Machine, Johnny Paycheck)


Yes, at first glance, everything seems perfect fine in Johnny Paycheck's world. He loves his mother, Hank One, and his woman, in that order. No word on whether he had a dog, but if he did, the dog's name was Tick and Tick liked to sleep on the porch pretty much around the clock. No word as well on whether he had a gun, or what he would have named her. History has its opinion on the matter, but has kept its counsel.

What History will not and indeed cannot remain silent about is what would eventually happen to the fresh-faced, turtleneck-wearing Paycheck. Say his name to most Folk who Listen and the first thing that they will think of is Outlaw Country Johnny Paycheck, the man who empowered a generation with his hymn to either Marx or Engels entitled "Take This Job and Shove It." That Johnny Paycheck was a cocaine walnut. Years of incredibly bad living and even worse choices had caved his god-damn face in. I'm not saying that his songs of the period aren't worthy. I personally like "15 Beers," which describes breakfast in the spacious Paycheck manse.

Ah, but couldn't it be said that he was doomed from jump? After all, he got his name from a go-nowhere palooka. And when you look at the song titles on his early albums... well, clearly, Mssr. Paycheck always had a certain... shall we say, 'free-spiritness' on his mind.

Yes, at first glance, everything seems fine in Johnny Paycheck's world. Look at these song titles, shorn of their parentheses. "Pardon Me." "He's In a Hurry." "It Won't Be Long." Christ, that could be a Peter Paul and Mary side.

And now, let us see the full song titles. "Pardon Me (I've Got Someone To Kill)." "He's In a Hurry (To Get Home to My Wife)." "It Won't Be Long (And I'll Be Hating You)." Who they hell do you imagine says, politely, "Pardon me, (it's been a pleasure talking to you and I value your time), but unfortunately I must abridge our conversation because I have someone to kill." I'll tell you who: a man with a moral code who could give a flying fuck at a rolling donut what the hell you think. The fact that he, at the end of the song, casually and coolly mentions that not only is he going to kill his wife, her lover, but also himself is merely icing on the cake. Euronymous would have quite correctly spit up his creepy satanic lutefisk if Johnny Paycheck had but coughed in the same room as him. GG Allin would have tried to act cool, but a blink from Paycheck would have sent him scurrying for his pastor. The only person possibly as shitkicking is David Allen Coe, who is currently railing your mother while snorting your pappy's ashes. Paycheck had the advantage of not being a racist cocksucker. When Johnny Paycheck died, the A-11 slot on every jukebox rusted and crumbled, and Pabst went flat across the nation. It is safe to say we will not see his likes again, least not on the radio.

17. Things You Can Do In Mom's Minivan (15 Early Tejano Classics)


Hey kids! Congratulations on getting that driver's license! That 5-Hour Energy Drink you mainlined an hour before the test really paid off! The open road is yours. Feel free to plough through dividing walls and take speed bumps at forty miles per while your parents pay the taxes. They owe you for making you clean the garage floor with a toothbrush.

So what if you're driving mom's 1997 Caravan? So what if Jimmy the car salesman's kid calls you a faggotface from the cockpit of his convertable and regularly drops you, ties you up and rolls you in the gym wrestling mat and invites a dozen of his closest friends to tapdance on it? We've got some fun activities that you can do while Jimmy is porking your sister live on webcam, things you can only do in a minivan!

Note: that middle bench seat comes out. Remove it so you can pack more merrymakers within.

1) Car of Death: Here's a topper! Pack eight homies into the car one night and drive slowly around the streets of your subdivision with your lights off and the sliding door open. Find someone even more abject than you, some poor kid actually WALKING. Like Louis, that kid who eats his own hair in Sociology. What a fucking cumstain wankfest HE is. Pull up next to him, driving at walking speed. After paralleling him for a couple of minutes, everyone should chant "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" as low as possible, like monks on a toot. Peel out when he drops to the ground weeping. Fun!

2) Caravan of Love: Try fucking someone in it. Remember to vacuum before and after. Best times: three hours after curfew; after a funeral. People to try to fuck: Lauren, Ludmilla, Penny. People to think about while you're trying to fuck the above: Cary, Maureen, Mrs. Penmiller. People to masturbate about when it ends in tears: Cary, Maureen, St. Agnes, Mrs. Penmiller.

3) The Party Never Stops: your older brother's friend who's been the assistant manager at Warburton's FullMart since you could walk will do anything, since he has absolutely no morals and no opportunities for advancement in any area of his life. Give him twenty bucks and he'll buy you a twelve-pack. Gather eight of your posse and show them the twelve-pack, sweating like a toad in the paper bag. Get your friend in Promise Keepers to drive, point him in the direction of the ring bypass around your town and slam this in the cassette player. Drink the beer. It's tepid and it tastes like shit, but choke it down anyway because you paid twenty bucks for it and because that's what you're supposed to be doing. You're free, no matter what that fucker Jimmy does to you.

16. Another Bullshit Message from Another Fake Sponsor (sWITCHHITTER:Framed!)


Hear that? That's the sound of your possessions staying where they should be, safe out of harm's way. That bowling trophy you won in 1976, the one your dad called you a fairy about because even though you won you fucked up the split in the seventh frame. The quilt that will always smell imperceptibly of your farts. A Bigmouth Billy Bass Jerry in IT rigged to say "Fuck Terrell Owens." Those fucking Hummell figurines your first wife left behind, the ones you keep because you still think on some level she's going to come back. Burglars won't get them, not with that door locked.

That Betamax video recorder. That Atari, with the full range of 20 cartridges: Combat, Missile Command, Breakdown, Breadline, Barfbag, Bullshit! The Intellivision with same. The Vectrex with same. The Colecovision with same, plus Donkey Kong. Your prized possessions, staying where they are, safe from the smack-encrusted knuckles of those who would spit on your property.

In times like these, these times, these end times. These times of trouble. These times we live in. In these times where we are in trouble. In these times keep your possessions safe. If you should come home and someone has broken into your house, close the door and burn it down. Call the authorities. This wouldn't have happened if you had put up those ADP stickers that Jerry in IT made on his Laser Printer.

Hear that sound? The sound of everything staying put, everything staying static. Nothing's going anywhere. Nobody is going to get your stuff. Nobody has any idea what the hell they would DO with your stuff, and you want to keep it that way.

15. Diamanda Galas, Lonely And Looking for her Heifer (The 23rd Swiss National Yodelling Festival, Thun; American Yodelling 1911-1946)


What are we, obstensibly extremely hip arbiters of taste on the consensual Mongolian clusterfuck that we call "The Internet," doing putting yodelling up for your delectation? Well, for one, eat shit and die, Junior. I was rocking IRC chatrooms like #madchester and #brooklyn-queens while you were still trying to h4xx0r your way out from betwixt thatandroidyoucallyourmomma's marshy thighs.

Secondly, we have a god-given duty to turn you on to music you have not considered. The best way to do this is to burrow so deeply into the trashpile of popular culture that you find a nugget rancid enough that no-one will touch it. Bring that festering glob up into the sun and let the young new light of NOW play along its ruined surfaces. There are people out there who will listen to the sounds of rutting goats from Albania as long as they can be assured that no-one has listened to the recordings for the last 80 years. As a matter of fact, we uploaded just that last month, and got Greil Marcus to guest-write! He used the terms 'chthonic' and 'haunted' several times, and The Wire Magazine has set up camp in our dumpster, praying for cast-off drafts to gnaw on. In such a way do we top up our hip quotient, if not our 'Q' rating. And to be sure, if there's one thing that a hipster discounts even more than lite beer, it's yodelling. We're providing you ammo, kids. You're welcome.

Thirdly, every wannabe avant-garde wingwang gives lip service if not full on saliva-soaked fellatio to the concept of extended technique. Extended technique nine times out ten means whatever you can con your applied bagpipe prof into believing without giggling until you swallow your tongue. Thurston plays his geetar with a screwdriver or twelve. Rashaan Roland Kirk plays three saxes at once: one with his mouth and one jammed into each sinus. Jason Adjemian and Fred Lonberg-Holm play the double bass with their foreheads.

Ah, but the original extended technique was probably the yodel of some poor motherfucker getting burned at the stake in Babylon BC. Before we had instruments, we just had what we came with.

We don't hear much about extended vocal technique outside of Joan La Barbara and Diamanda Galas. But dammit, shouldn't we look beyond those two shop-worn mainstream radio chesnuts? Hence, two shining examples of extended vocal technique from two different continents. I'm not including Tuvan throat singing because I don't like it, even when Bjork does it. The fact that I like it is irrelevant. I'm putting these up there for your education.

Fourthly, I think that everyone should send five bucks to the descendants of the Dezurik Sisters, wherever they may be. And the use of coins rolled in a bell for a sort of percussive ostinato on "Zauerli mit Talerschwingen" classifies as extended technique on its own.

And finally, are you here to fix the sink? Is Charlie Rose on? Will you empty my bag? Where the flittery fuck have you youngsters gone with my Bandit, the only motorized wheelchair with a rollbar? What sick swine god curses me with another day on this stinking earth filled with such ungrateful snots as you?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

14. The Reverend Doctor Will Stare at You Now




Back in the day, before everyone had the internet hardwired to their assholes, finding music like this wasn't an everyday occurence. One day you're watching Rude Dog and the Dweebs, trying to remember exactly how that guy last night swallowed a whole eggplant, and the next thing you know somebody calls up and says they have found something so utterly mind-roasting they are braving their hangover and coming over, right now, and do you have any beer because a) you're going to need it and b) the headache is just NOT going away. The way I remember it, it was always on a cassette, and the cassette always looked like it had been in constant use for six years straight, titles written in pencil, erased, written again, until the label looked like it was fat-packed with cuneiform scrabble and Aramaic, each one a Rosetta Stone.

Thus did it happen when came the time I first heard the Reverend Doctor Fred Lane. My boy Clint who later would move to Micronesia to study some wack-ass tropical clam or whelk or other bivalve whipped out this tape. "Check it out." And what I checked was utterly unlike anything I had heard previously. Mssr. Lane himself described it as "stripmine crooning," and that seems as close to the truth as anything else.

If you just put this on the background it sounds like any other big band getting beat up in a back alley, but... hey, did you see that alliteration? I didn't even mean to do it, it just happened. That's the kind of quality you can expect from us; accept no substitutes. And especially watch out for Monsignor Theophilus T. Shitbird's blog, "Cheese-Food Prostitute." That man is not your friend, if indeed he is a man at all. His blog is full of mistruths and oily insinuations. Don't believe his lies.

Back to Mssr. Lane, however. This kind of effortless fuckery is the hallmark of people who know what they're doing purposefully doing the opposite. Morricone and Sinatra get loaded in Bangkok. John Zorn (who, rumor has it, plays on one or both of the albums) rearranges the Glenn Miller songbook. The world's worst guitar solo parachutes into a Kyrgystani James Bond soundtrack. And we hear of the virtues of having lunch with white women, learn to fear the French Toast Man, get to sit in while Lane blows his brains out on record, and plumb the truly psychotic depths of the common Sub-Elvis bar-band love song.

The original Shimmy-Disc vinyl for this goes for three digits; frankly, the truly unhinged album art alone (sampled below) is worth it. Recommended for fans of the Firesign Theater. Fuck that: this is recommended for YOU. And for the maximum effect, listen to it at the end of a three-day bender; you'll thank me, and so will your therapist.

13. Making Muffalattas, If You Know What I Mean


Here's what I know about funk: I don't have any, and I wouldn't know what to do with it if I did have it, due to injuries to certain important lobes in my brain which I acquired during the Sexual Revolution. Frequently I find myself sitting on a bench in Chocolate City, eating a croissant (where the fuck did I find a croissant in Chocolate City?), pondering exactly what went wrong. Even that cocksucker Sir Nose has stopped calling me, and he owes me money.

However, there are certain objets d'art that are SO ridiculously funky that even I have to shift the six-foot pole in my ass, make sure the curtains are drawn, and get down. Such a release is 2001's Funk All Y'all, which is as far as I can tell the sole release of a couple of maniacs who called themselves the Detroit Grand Pubahs. Falling somewhere between Blowfly and Parliament, taking a stop somewhere around electro, and apparently sucking down a hefty and completely mind-boggling record contract... what? Oh, they have another album: Galactic Ass Creatures from Uranus. Thanks, man. No, I'll talk to you at the Double Lanes. Yeah, 10:24. Yeah man, see ya. Dude, I'm working.

So yeah: this album. It's what some would call 'retarded' and I'm not necessarily talking about trisomy-21, although to be frank that is a possibility. Populated by serial killers, bent gynecologists (when did THAT become a cliché? in any case, we should bring it back somehow), teenaged-prostitutes and various other dancefloor zombies who only wish to hump it (two times), this album should not be played in the presence of Auntie Olga. Or maybe it should. Maybe Auntie Olga is nasty.

The masterpiece on this album, however, remains "Sandwiches." As I didn't frequent many dancefloors at the time, I can't say how popular this song was. However popular it was, all I can say is that IT WAS NOT POPULAR ENOUGH. Over yer basic electro groove, somebody who sounds like he's just huffed a Sherwin-Williams store lays it down:

I know you wanna do it. You know I wanna do it too.... Out here on the dance floor. We can make sandwiches... make your thighs like butter, baby, easy to spread...

I think he says something else, but the man sounds so sick, so abject, that it really doesn't matter WHAT the hell he says, you just want to sweat hard enough to remove his sicko stench from your skin and replace it with your own funk in the literal sense.

In any case, next time you want to have sex, put this on aforehand and if yer luvmuffin doesn't immediately call the police, you've got a winner on yer hands, pal.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

12. Gazing at Cruel Shoes


So, over at this hideous forum for retards I (and several other of the posters here) frequent, someone asked, what's some shoegaze stuff I haven't heard? And I said, not only have you probably not heard of Medicine, but they might have actually cut MBV at their own game. Whereupon he opined that I was probably full of shit. The fact that I am, in fact, full of shit, is irrelevant here: Medicine was, dare I say it, better than MBV.

Facts: Brad Laner was the principal songwriter, and here is a guy who tried and tried until he got it right. He was in some late incarnation of Savage Republic, and from what I remember he was allowed to join because he just wouldn't go away, so they figured they might as well let him carry the gear and make rock faces on stage, the projections reflecting off his shiny forehead. After SR, he must have really studied the guitar, because from the very first moment of the very first song on Shot Forth Self Living, guitars get smeared and spiked to the breaking point. It's not just dicking around when he claims that everything was recorded in his living room, naked. Nor is he dicking around when he called his setup "The Lab of Happy Dreams."

But this isn't just noise. He lucked out getting Beth Thompson from Fourwaycross, who was great at sounding sultry while the music made lava floes and flaming iceburgs around her. It's a nice juxtaposition, but there's more: half the songs have frigging dance beats. Put it all together and Shot Forth Self Living and the somewhat less dancy follow-up The Buried Life are pretty god-damn unique. Although if you really want an MBV comparison, let's just say the two albums take the end of "Soon" and take it to the proverbial next level. And since Massuh Eno called that the perfect pop song, that's a mighty fine place to start.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

11 (10 maybe?). Blu and Exile - Below the Heavens (2007)


West coast LA freestyle MC Blu teamed up with dope beatmaster Exile to create this badass album that, despite critical praise, only a few people heard for some reason. This was one of my favourite rap albums of 2007, second only to T-Pain's Epiphany (sp?). Exile has produced for a number of well known artists in the past, including Mobb Deep and Jurassic 5, and is one half of the duo Emanon, but before this release Blu was a completely unknown outside of certain LA MC circles. Here he combines tight rhymes with a well-paced delivery and a very soulful singing voice and he also looks cool. Exile covers a lot of territory on this long album, trying out most styles of hip hop and r and b beats.

Download here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

10. In a Drawing Room with Tasteful Goatse Wallpaper



Goatse has lost its ability to shock, and I for one pour out my forty of scat leftover on the curb, here at the corner of Jaded Street and Saturation Lane.

I'm not gonna link to it, cause little children read this (it was named a "required blog" for passing the Virginia SOLs), and because chances are you see it about 300 times a day. It's no longer shocking. It has become shorthand for shocking, but the image has lost its power, or whatever power we allowed it to have, anyway.

And while we're discussing totemic images that have lost their magic, let's talk about the sixth most interesting member of the Velvet Underground, the estimable Lou Reed. Here was a man who tried way too hard in his solo career, and subsequently, never really did much of interest to me. His batting average was way below the Mendoza line, way below those of Cale (Paris 1919 wiped the floor with him), Tucker (the 50 Skidillion Watts releases are hella fun), Pfafgen (an ACTUAL degenerate), Morrison (tugboat captain!) and Yule (probably now known as "Doug Yule of Doug Yule Ford", and who I am placing above Reed just to be an asshole).

The one thing he DID do that I unreservedly like is, yes, the popular Goatse of its time, Metal Machine Music. Which when heard today in our landscape of Kevin Drumms and John Wieses and Tom Smiths is really not all that extreme. And which, it could be argued, Reed probably doesn't even remember making. You can read all the Bangs stuff about how it enraged every man-jack and child; I'll assume you know what went on back there. But by the time I got to it, sometime in the mid- to late-90's, it was just another noise record. And a damn good one to boot.

Reed, to this day, still doesn't know how to spin this thing, which can be considered as the one piece of music he did which wasn't slathered in layers of pose; he'll describe it as a continuation of his drone work in the Velvet Underground (oh yeah, "his" drone work, right) and then a couple of sentences later pass it off as some sort of Warholian joke. He doesn't know how to relate to the one thing he did that is just a piece of music. And that's sad, but shed few tears; he's shacked up with Laurie Anderson now, and the two of them wax post-epistemological over blintzes and Sanka.

So what becomes a Goatse? How about a classical re-interpretation thereof? An ensemble called Zeitkratzer somehow transcribed Metal Machine Music, arranged it for classical instruments, and played it, no doubt, at maximum valume in front of an audience who have Goatse t-shirts. The amazing thing is how well it works. Well, maybe not so amazing: they wouldn't have put in on CD if it didn't. Avant-garde classical ensembles have to justify their recorded releases, as opposed to yer more common noise yodels, who can shit out a CD-R at will.

Look for the Goatse version of the Flying Toaster screensaver in yer new Vista service pack. And stare deep into the ruby sun twixt that old man's cheeks, and enjoy the feeling of ironic peace it brings.

8. Organized Disorganzed Noise


Just found a very cool site here (it's also in the links to the side), which got me whooped up on field recordings again. Field recordings are tricky things, and fall into that hideous little experimental cul-de-sac wherein, as in yer garden-variety avant garde, it's usually a hell of a lot more to do it than to listen to it. (Reminiscent of when I tried to get one of my bands a gig at the Velvet Lounge in DC: "You people only come out for your own bands." Now, five years later, the amplified-hairnet underground is rampant, and the VL is booking any schmuck with a no-input minxing board; nevertheless, the guy was right.)

I'll just let the site speak for itself:

Folk Songs for the Five Points is a celebration of cultural diversity and change, using “folk songs” as a metaphor to explore immigration and the formation of identity in New York’s Lower East Side.

The project isn’t about absolute answers or clear definitions. We are celebrating the unexpected richness that confronts you at every turn – from the many languages of Canal St to the endless complexity contained in words like “immigrant” and “folk song”.

The interface raises some interesting points about intent. Obviously, there is no such thing as a completely unmediated field recording. The very act of choosing the spot and action (or process) to record constitutes a narrowing of options. Eventually, field recording will reach its apotheosis when Chris Watson (or some post-industrial maniac like Mark Pauline or Genesis P-Orridge) gets a Marantz installed in his sinuses and leaves the tape rolling 24/7. But do people who enjoy field recordings buy them for what is recorded rather than who is recording it? I don't know, I'm ust riffing. I suspect the latter, and I also suspect that a philosophical point can be made but I just woke up.

I think this site makes a great point regarding field recording: intent and organization are super-natural, and necessary. I think kids could have a lot of fun with it, mixing and matching the sounds; you can pan them, eq them, make your own b-boy bouillabaise from the exceptionally rich sonic palette of the Five Corners, organize the disorganized noise.

I think my favorite field recording probably wouldn't be considered such by purists, but I imagine field recording purists are people who have five-digit sound systems and no subscription to cable television. Sublime Frequencies have a slew of releases where people just went out into the country, deep in SE Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa, pointed their mics and hit record. They also have a series of recordings of radio broadcasts from these countries, edited and chopped (or not), which I think are as much field recordings as made by any pud with a raincoat and a bag of Fisherman's Friends out on the shore in Maine during a nor'easter. It's a sort of punk take on field recording, all in shit-fi, that I like, cause I love to hear evidence of the medium (tape distortion, bad edits, etc.) but that's a whole other pile of aesthetic philosophy and I'm gonna go smoke now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

7. Degrees of Don B., Part 1


Now that school is in session, it would behoove you little merrinks to, as Vanessa Hay once so intelligently said, "read a book." They're those rectangular things with the bendy white planes in them. Call your mother, she knows about these things. And reassure her that, even though you're away at Southwest Northern State U and Chicken Sexery, you're still upholding the tenets of Moroni. I'll wait.

We're up to speed and you've gotten a sandwich, so, a recommendation: Donald Barthelme. Not only was this man hilarious, capable of genius, and prodigiously bearded, he was also quite hard-wired into a fertile Texas psychedelic scene that was more than just The Thirteenth-Floor Elevators.

But back to Barthelme. I guess the word 'post-modern,' like the words 'gamelan' or 'irnoic' [sic], doesn't mean much any more now that Taco Bell ads regularly subvert the medium, but he was post-modern when that was a freak flag to fly high. From jump (read: "A Shower of Gold," which can be found at the link above) here was a man who knew that even if you weren't interested in absurdity, it was interested in you, and the stories follow humanity's Via Dolorosa towards a Golgotha where God doesn't answer not because he's dead, but because he was drafting his fantasy football team and drinking Lone Star.

So check out that fine collection at jessamyn.com, go buy all the short stories, go buy The Dead Father, set up a kegerator on your veranda and whiff it:

Barthelme's brother Frederick is a writer in his own right, most like Carver except his stories manage to be more sun-blasted and desolate. He also played in some of the earliest incarnations of The Red Krayola with Mayo Thompson, and here's where the six degrees take off. The Red Krayola, revolving around our boy Mayo, has been around since 1968, and the list of people who went through it reads like a phone book from Hipville. But for our purposes, let's just focus on someone who played with him in the third, Drag City incarnation: Jimbo Rourke. Sorry. Meant Jim O'Rourke.

At this point, you yourself are on the degrees of separation railway, because it is contractually obligated from when you are born that you will have to put out an album with Jim O'Rourke whether you want to or not.
So, let's review:
Donald Barthelme → Frederick BarthelmeMayo ThompsonRed KrayolaJim O'Rourke → Your Granny on Bongos → You.
See? You're cooler than you thought.

6. Royal Trux - The Radio Video EP (+ bonus)


Royal Trux were simultaneously the World's Finest Boogie Band, backwater noise music terrorists, the logical fusion and evolution of Butthole Surfers and Was (Not Was), and two Stupid Asshole Junkies with a good hand on musical equipment. Their catalog ranges anywhere from puke-rock terrorism, Rolling Stones blues poppers, compressed cock rock anthems and the theme from M.A.S.H. complete with helicopters.

A formerly married couple, Jennifer Herremma and Neil Haggerty are the Drag City heroes of a world without hooks and art rock without rock. Jennifer is known to pack 'tude and shoot heroin, and, if in the mood, add her brand name crass, disgusting vocals over the mix, sounding almost as if a Ween song had a point, merit, or any kind of visible humor. Neil twiddles and bends on cheap pawn shop guitars, channeling some of the greatest rock soloists of his time and poking fun at all of them with every delay stompbox and pentatonic mumbling in the book, piled on top of the over produced drums, vocals, flangers, pots and pans, and sing-along reverberation, clouding the music in a thick haze on the line between snideness and sincerity. They are Captain Beefheart and Led Zeppelin, The Los Angeles Free Music Society and The Cars. Conceptual experimental, or earnestly in love with FM Radio? Either way, they're alot of fun.

The Radio Video EP is one of the band's most peculiar works, completely unlike the infamous Twin Infinitives and a little more stripped down than Accelerator and the like. The extraneous strings, stadium rock drums, and corny Farfisa organs are left out in favor of a dry, hollow drum and bass sound, droning with seductive background vocals courtesy of the unknown Reeta Young and accompanied by long time Trux drummer Chris Pyle on one track. It feels almost as if they've made dance music their next target. On the flip side, the messy vocals, rambling guitars, hysterical lyrics and generally obnoxious overtones are all in tact, and on a whole new level. The Inside Game (you might recognize this number from High Fidelity if you're a huge wiener and a fag) is a yelping, grooving, filthy dance number that sets the continuity of the record; pounding bass and percussion, loose shredding and absurd half-rapping vocals from Haggerty, and Herremma slipping in for the chorus with the effects on high. Echoes waiver, lead guitar and background samples switch on and off at seemingly random jumps, and the end product is both very psychedelic and very funky, bizarre and consistently amusing on top of that. Victory Chimp: Episode 3 was recorded live inside a book store if these boney shitheads are to believe, sung by a throaty Haggerty on lone acoustic guitar with two pairs of bongos thrown in. Dirty Headlines is the star track, continuing the canon of Inside Game with this little chant:

YOU'RE SO RANK/
YOU PROBABLY TRY TO LICK YOUR OWN SKANK

atop Reeta Young's impatient moaning and Herremma's multi-tracked nursey rhymes. Mexican Comet bridges the next gap with a short percussive drone, and the album climaxes with On My Mind, the last in Haggerty's trilogy of uncouth South Jersey boy sermons. It's strange there's so little seen of this EP on the internet, because it's a huge accomplishment in their discography and a definite stand out in the hodge podge of material these faithless dickwads have released.

Royal Trux have a different niche for everyone. Their signature tongue-in-cheek humor, hidden within the 50/50 earnest/sarcastic writing and instrumentation, psychedelic and unhinged and endlessly mocking, masked by a noise rock attitude and demeanor is sure to appeal to fans of most stuff that is not gay.

Click Here To No Longer Be Gay

(PS: I've added Jay Reatard's Hammer i miss you EP in, as EPs are really short and people seem to be catching onto his sneering Adverts punk rock and stupid jew fro these days)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

5. Fire Engines - Hungry Beat


If Orange Juice is the Oasis of the Scottish post-punk scene, and Josef K is the Blur, then the Fire Engines have to be the Manic Street Preachers. Under-appreciated and almost forgotten, yet artier and messier and, on the whole, much more interesting than the bands in the spotlight. OJ and Josef K are very nice bands, but if you're looking for more than "angular" guitars backed by a straightforward disco beat, Fire Engines is a good example of what made post-punk so great. Sure, it was swell of Edwin Collins to bring his fascination with Chic into the underground music explosion, but is "Rip it Up" really post-punk? Farther down the Scottish totem pole, yet light years away in terms of sound and technique, Fire Engines give us a noisy mess that you can dance to. Hungry Beat, released in 2007, is a near-discography, compiling the full-length Lubricate Your Living Room and the various 7"s put out during the band's extremely brief existence. The packaging includes a blurb from Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand. If there was ever proof that good influences do not make a good band, this is it. Listen to Fire Engines, not Franz Ferdinand; listen to Joy Division, not Interpol; and don't listen to Vampire Weekend (not really relevant, just had to slip it in there).

Fire Engines - Hungry Beat


4. Cosmic Invention - Help Your Satori Mind (1997)



In 1997 several titanic monster godkings of Japanese psyfolk teamed up to create this gem. Ghost's Masaki Batoh, White Heaven's Michio Kurihara, and Blaze Subvert's Futoshi Okana were just a few of the stars who worked on the six tracks here. While the album's title references as a Flower Travellin' Band classic release and the opening track clearly shows this influence - although it adds a lot of early Funkadelic style bass - as it progresses the various artists explore every territory of psych-rock and psy-folk. You have a great mix of heavy rock in the vein of FTB, Black Sabbeth, King Crimson, and LSD March, and much softer, but still psychedelic, folk. Truly an Album To Remember.

Click here if you are a homosexual.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

3.The Plaintive Cry of the Country-Western Robot


Well, it ain't Nickel Creek, but it is country. You will learn the following things from this:
§ the proper use of the parenthesis!
§ what you can learn for free from a fifty cent illustrated guide!
§ exactly how many things rhyme with "Saginaw, Michigan"!
§ the link between smoking and existential longing!
§ the sound of the country-western robot!
§ where the poodle who thinks he is a cowboy lives!
§ and so much more!

Country music is not a drug or religion. No operators will call.

Happy birthday, Notagoon.