shake yourself lose from some daddy's leash
: "Twilight Creeps"Crooked Fingers
: "The River (live)"
Yes, I saw Crooked Fingers last night
. And there was much jollity. Well, I don’t know if I’d call it jolly, but it was a grand time, for sure. Eric Bachmann’s been one of my top guys since I was sixteen, and his growth / maturation as a songwriter-musician type of guy has paralleled mine as a listener. And although Crooked Fingers couldn’t possibly mean as much to me as the Archers of Loaf did, their music is more fully satisfying, intellectually and emotionally, than almost anything by the Archers. Here’s a song from their fourth, and latest album, Dignity and Shame
. Bachmann’s encroaching Springsteenism (as documented on this live version of “The River”
has maybe hit its peak with “Twilight Creeps”
, which could easily fit on Darkness on the Edge of Town
(although the Boss would use a sax instead of a trumpet, of course). While some might believe lyrics like “why’s everybody always act so tough when all anybody wants is to find a friend”
to be facile, I find them touching in their simplicity and honesty. Much like the music, Bachmann’s voice sounds lighter than it ever has. Even before the blissful falsetto flourish, there’s little of the gravel-pit we’ve come to expect. Compare this to how he sounded on the last Archers tour, as documented on the live cd Seconds Before the Accident
(a copy of which I finally acquired via WZBC
). That rock-vomiting, apocalyptic croak has been replaced by something almost sort of pretty. It’s been fairly amazing to watch Bachmann’s transformation these last few years, and although Dignity and Shame
, as a whole, isn’t quite as good as prior Crooked Fingers albums, songs like “Twilight Creeps” leave me anxious to hear more.
and you cuddle for a half an hour
ft. Vashti Bunyan
: "Prospect Hummer"
From SA (aka Jerkwater), here’s a song from the forth-coming Animal Collective / Vashti Bunyon ep, Prospect Hummer
. As SA notes, “it's a four song ep. They wrote all the songs and they got her to sing them. Apparently they were extra songs from the Sung Tongs
era, which is weird because that album sort of seemed like they ran out of songs and just put a few noisy tracks at the end. Supposedly they're recording the next album right now, with the plan for it to come out in the fall.”
If this is a leftover, I'd like to hear whatever else didn't make the cut for Sung Tongs
. It's really good, and Bunyan's voice mixes well with the group. This thing will be out on FatCat
on May 31st.
people say the only way is up
: "New Road Out of Hell"
After three or so minutes of mellow Ptolemaic Terrascope
style rock, the Holy Blood
’s “New Road Out of Hell”
devolves into an impressive slurry of psychedelic styles, as Kinski
-esque sheets of noise envelope the acoustic guitar and lackadaisical drumming. It’s like you’re lost in a forest in outer-space with Emerson Lake and Palmer
circa “Lucky Man” as your only companions, far off in a nightmarish future-past where the foxy ladies of ELP
have forgotten how to wank but are hopeless to resist that delicious primordial urge. It may sound kind of slapdash and slipshod and brazenly less than 100% assed, but that’s the magic of this new psychogalactic pastoralism, that it takes little musical ability and no professionalism to make truly excellent, and occasionally transcendent, music. In that regard it slightly reminds me of that early '90's lo-fi hubbub, when a four-track, a broken guitar, and a decent melody could yield instant gold.
The Holy Blood is a part of Australia’s MusicYourMindWillLoveYou SightSoundCollective, the pivotal figure of which is one Michael Donnelly. “New Road Out of Hell” comes from the collective’s first compilation, You Will Love Your Music Mind
. You can order copies from their website
yeah there goes that darkness
Yo la Tengo
: "We Didn't Start the Fire"Yo la Tengo
played their annual all-request show on WFMU
last Monday. A track listing can be found at Sunsquashed
. I haven’t found any mp3s of it yet, but also at Sunsquashed you can download their entire 2004 set
. It’s ridiculously huge, about 120 mb, but it runs for almost two hours, and is a prime way to kill some time at the office. They don’t always play the songs correctly, but it’s pretty consistently entertaining, if you like the band, I guess. So I split a few of the tracks up, and I present one for your edification here today, on this glorious Spring morning, a Spring morning that should eventually end with one of those fantastic Spring snowstorms that help make Boston so fuckin’ hot. Here’s our band’s rambling take on “We Didn’t Start the Fire”
, that stone-cold classic by Nation of Ulysses
. I first heard the original in a Pizza Hut on Roswell Road down near the Just Wallpaper, across the street from the building I wound up getting married in. I wanted it to be our first dance, but that damned female refused. We're headed straight to splitsville, since day one.
Oh yeah, what do you think of the new new logo? I think it sits on a plane equidistant between rad and retarded, but I'm drunk. At 9:00 am. At work.
today probably won't be the day
J.C. and Anphibius
: "Maybe Perhapsman"J.C. and Anphibius
: "Cryptic Clue"
In 2002 I reviewed Deathbed Recollections
, the first record by J.C.
and his musical companion Anphibius
, for DOA
. I thought it was pretty good, but didn’t go nuts over it, or anything. I was recently sent a copy of their new album, Resurrection Jingles
, and again, while not excellent, it’s a good bit better than its predecessor. J.C.’s still playing the melancholy crooner role, and still aspires to be the singular union of Cohen, Drake, and Hazelwood. Anphibius has come up with a better batch of songs than last time, however; the melodies are more memorable, the textures and instrumentation more varied. Fitting with the rebirth theme implied by the title, J.C. seems to have perked up some since the first record, as not every song sounds like the wee hour moping of a wine-drunk washout. Even when J.C. tries to be optimistic, though, as on the upbeat “Maybe Perhapsman”, he has a hell of a time convincing himself that things could work out for him. The line “is it too good to be true”, from “Cryptic Clue: Shotgun Ends My Life on Happiest Day”, encapsulates J.C.’s tenuous belief in his own good fortune, which is probably the record’s dominant theme. J.C.’s persona can come off too much like schtick at times, and occasionally the music and lyrics veer too close to pure schmaltz, but for the most part Resurrection Jingles is a perfectly fine album.
You can buy a copy of Resurrection Jingles from J.C. and Anphibius's website
better than that Nickel Creek cover
Have you ever wanted to hear a jazz version of "Summer Babe"
Well, now you can
(yes, the worst name for a website ever) has one of those leaked tracks from the forthcoming Malkmus
album up. It's pretty good.
for the moment blogger is not horrifically fucked up
Been trying to get on here all morning. I plan to have a full update later on today. For now, go listen to a few mp3's
from Avey Tare
and Panda Bear
's July 11th, 2003, performance on KVRX
word war cross post
: "Do You Want New Wave (Or Do You Want the Truth?)"The Minutemen
: "The Glory of Man"
Over at the mother ship
I wrote a little bit
about the movie Word Wars
. There's not much music in the movie, and what there is is mostly forgettable. The pretty lousy score (written by some dude named Thor) has maybe three or four recurring pieces, and the director's brother's take on "Across the Universe"
is a complete non-entity (although the wife thought it was Scott Weiland
at first). G. I. Joel Sherman
's piano-bar take on the same song is the only sense we get that his life is not exclusively based upon Scrabble
, but as music it's just barely competent enough to escape notice from Irwin Chusid
. That leaves the two songs from the Minutemen
, whose appearances are surprising and inexplicable. Director Eric Chaikin
's use of Do You Want New Wave (Or Do You Want the Truth?)
serves to highlight the frenetic, big-city pace of a Washington Square Park game, and "The Glory of Man"
could very well be where the movie's title came from. And although it was nice to hear these two grand old chestnuts, they sort of diverted my attention away from the film at hand and made me think about that Minutemen documentary
One of the amazing things about this band is that the older I get the more I appreciate them. I actively disliked them when I first heard them in high school. I warmed to certain songs in college but their noodly, funk-inflected material still turned me off. It wasn't until '99, when I got a vinyl copy of Double Nickels on the Dime
from my old pals at Music Boulevard
, that I started to really get into them. It took me a while to warm up to that one (I was getting tons of records in that time), but ever since I did it's been in semi-regular rotation on my record player. And due to SST
's exorbitant cd prices, I still have yet to hear a good half of their collected works. I'm sort of putting that off, I guess, trying to stave off the inevitable personal depletion of their catalogue, so that when I get the urge and wherewithal to buy a new (to me) record by one of my top faves there'll always be something waiting there for me.
somebody give me my oxygen
Brainiac "Fucking With the Altimeter"
After the death of their lead singer in 1997, members of Brainiac
eventually formed Enon
, a band that I regard with complete indifference. I have no opinion on Enon; I know they exist, I’ve heard several of their songs, but no impression has ever been made upon me. I am impervious to them. And, truth be told, I mostly am/was to Brainiac, as well. I bought Brainiac’s Bonsai Superstar
album in high school, on account of the presence of the song “Fucking With the Altimeter”
, and generally have never thought too much of it. "Fucking With the Altimeter" is pretty amazing, though. It's one of those songs, like “Make-Out Club” and Railroad Jerk
, that I got hooked on through constant airplay on WRAS
. I used to hear it three or four times a day for a stretch back in 1994, and it very quickly got stuck in my head. It sounds more malevolent than most metal songs. Between the looped samples, Tim Taylor’s creepshow whisper, and his Bobby McFerrin
percussion on the left channel, “Fucking With the Altimeter” not only stood apart from the rest of the stuff on 88.5 at the time, it's also distinct from the rest of Bonsai Superstar. Throw in a catchy chorus that sounds like Westing
and you’ve got a song that still does its job eleven years later.
Easy ones for a post-hostage weekend Monday
Thought I would post some ones easy on the ears for this morning...Emiliana Torrini
Emiliana has been described as the female Nick Drake and there really isnt a better way to describe this latest cd by her. She is also pretty famous for making "The Gollum Song" in the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. She is from Iceland if you couldnt guess it already and this song "Sunnyroad" is one of the best off her new record. Personally I think her record is much easier to listen to than that Joanna girl, mainly b/c her voice is better and a lot less annoying child. I called it, Zieg's newest obsession. Six Organs of Admittance
The Chaz in full effect. This guy (recently joined Comets on Fire) is a damn near musical master. He hears a lot of stuff that most either cant or dont want to spend the time doing. His newest album is the best of his music that I have heard, although I havent heard it all. This song here isnt the best on the album (that one is 15 minutes long) but is a good piece that shows his dynamic side a little bit. Basic chord progression with some pretty spooky mind tossin' feedback placed perfectly. Want to know what psychedelic folk sounds like...
You can find Emiliana Torrini's cd at Rough Trade
You can find the Six Organs of Admittance at Drag City
Lil Flip Scoldjah repost
The Masta Cylindaz, feat. Lil Flip Scoldjah "Shine On You Fantastical Bastards!"The Masta Cylindaz, feat. Lil Flip Scoldjah "So Much Fucking Charisma Have We!"The Masta Cylindaz, feat. Lil Flip Scoldjah "Ballad of the Lil Flip Scoldjah (U2 Art Like)"
's request, here's a repost of a couple of songs by Lil Flip Scoldjah
, under the guise of his fantasy football team, the Masta Cylindaz
wrote a great article
about him for the Flagpole
back in December. Out Francin' Y'all
, the fourteen-track album, was originally distributed to all the general managers in Lil Flip's fantasy football league; it was later semi-released by our stupid little in-house cd-r label Nokahoma Records
. This is basically the pinnacle in fantasy sports shit-talk, and in fact renders all future fantasy sporting irrelevent. Lil Flip is the smartest man I've ever known.
Bow to this...
- "Champagne Jam"
I know a lot of people dont like Ween because they are a "joke band" or because they are "above your head", but this one we can all agree on. I dont post often here, so when I do it better be worth it right...FUNKY CORRECT!
Here is the explaination from Dean Ween himself:
A few years back we were asked by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross from tv's awesome "Mr. Show" to record a version of Champagne Jam by the Atlanta Rhythm Section. It was to be used in their full length movie "Run Ronny Run" which was based on a skit about a redneck named Ronnie Dobbs from Mr. Show. After a lot of internal bickering with the studio the movie was eventually released straight to video. I saw a rough cut of the film that had a snippet of the song in the background so I'm assuming it made the final cut as well. We cut the track with a bunch of our talented friends from the area at our manager's studio out in Ringoes, NJ. The personnel is as follows: Gene Ween-vocals Dean Ween-Guitar Dave Dreiwitz-bass Sim Cain-drums (Claude Coleman was living in London at this time) Ed Wilson-Guitar Garland Lamb-vocals Glenn McClelland-keyboards and clavinet. Greg Frey produced and engineered the track. While staying pretty loyal to the original version we had a great time with this song and cut the basic tracks pretty much live.
You can only find this song on the Ween
webpage. Maybe on the soundtrack to RRR, if they even have one!
Into This Wondrous World of Many Wonders One More Wonder Came
Cal Smith "Country Bumpkin"Bob Marley and the Wailers "Jah is Mighty"
Okay, yes, honestly, I was first attracted to this song by its formidable humor quotient. Few things can generate guffaws as thoroughly as bad country pop from any of the four or five most recent decades. One of the many wonderful aspects to country music, though, is the fact that, like the cast of “Con Air”
, the participants often realize how completely ridiculous their work is. They know it, they admit it, yet they embrace it, and absolutely refuse to apologize. Yes, Tracy Byrd
knows how ridiculous “Drinking Bone”
is, but he also knows that it’s irrevocably, amazingly awesome, and that’s something that most hipsters and country detractors will never understand. “Country Bumpkin”
is no “Drinking Bone” (or “Dumas Walker”
, for that matter), but it is incredible in its own way. The song’s writer, Don Wayne
, is a master of convoluted, unwieldy sentences, and seems to get paid by the adjective. The second verse is sheer poetic brilliance, and the conclusion never fails to get me all teary-eyed (in theory). Cal Smith
’s rendition, the CMA “Song of the Year” for 1974, is a true classic of bad-but-awesome country pop.
Also, for no good reason, here’s “Jah is Mighty”
, by our greatest inspiration.
He Simply Was Immense
Bob Roberts "Everybody Works But Father"“Everybody Works But Father”
was written in 1905 by Jean Havez
, a writer of minstrel and vaudeville songs, and later a scenarist for Fatty Arbuckle
, Charlie Chaplin
, Harold Lloyd
, and Buster Keaton
. Havez was also a press agent for Lew Dockstader’s Minstrels
, one of the more notable blackface companies that toured throughout the country at the turn of the 19th century. Although written for Dockstader, this version of the song comes from a concert cylinder recorded by Bob Roberts
in October of the year the song was written. Despite being written for a blackface performer, and recorded by a singer, Roberts, whose records were usually catalogued under the “race record” heading, “Everybody Works But Father” is pretty much free of the sort of racial stereotyping and mocking exaggeration that made up most songs of the minstrel variety. Roberts doesn’t sing in a “black” voice, he doesn’t indulge in any pre-song, “Amos and Andy” style banter, and nothing in the lyrics distinguish the subject’s race. I’ve owned a copy of this song for five years now, and didn’t realize it was a minstrel tune until a few weeks ago.
As horrible as minstrelsy may be, or may have been, I find its offensiveness far less noteworthy than its complete inexplicable absurdity. The predominant strain of popular culture, before Vaudeville, consisted of a bunch of white guys singing corny Tin Pan Alley songs with cork smeared on their face. Our great-grandparents were actually entertained by stuff like this, by white men carrying on an unrealistic charade of black culture. And this wasn’t just a Southern thing; indeed, minstrelsy began in New York, and remained popular in the North into the 1920’s. A Scottish friend told me about a minstrel program that aired on the BBC until the 1970’s. Of course you can say that today’s rappers are just modern-day minstrels, but at least they’re actually black, for the most part. Yeah, yeah, justifying racism and romanticizing slavery is awful, and everything, but the manners in which those ignoble tendencies were manifested are bizarre, grotesque, and ridiculous enough to be utterly fascinating.
the only audioblog where you pick the hits
Unknown Artist "The Lost You"
I have no idea what this is. SA (aka Jerkwater Johnson) sent this to me over the weekend, telling me I should put it up today. He refuses to tell me who made it, and has also declined to write about it himself. I don’t have much to say, really, other than that it sounds like it might be Hood
, or maybe the Notwist
. The first few seconds make me think of Phoenix
, but I don’t think it’s them. I can’t tell if that dramatic skip at the :35 second mark is a part of the song’s intentional glitchiness, or if it’s due to a problem with the file I was sent. Either way, I’m not too keen on it. The song itself is alright. It’s from a world in which Radiohead
decided to make something worthwhile instead of trying to impress people with their obtuseness. The Descendents "Nothing With You"
And here’s another one from Hillary
, this time something called “Nothing With You”
, by the Descendents
. Although I’m not really a fan of it, at all (I’ve already deleted it from my hard drive, for inst), I can appreciate her comments
, as published in the Flagpole
. My wife and I can definitely relate to Milo’s modest goals, and he does seem serious enough about his love. Musically, though, the song offers nothing, as it’s just another iteration of an inherently obnoxious subgenre that probably should have died shortly after birth. Jah Division "Dub Disorder"
And finally, a song from me. Jah Division
’s four-song ep on Social Registry
is a fine record that struggles to transcend its gimmick. Side A is a let-down, but the flip, with “Dub Disorder”
and “Dub Will Tear Us Apart Again”
, redeems the whole thing. Both songs retain the originals’ indelible melodies and basslines without devolving into soggy, jumbled messes. Of the two, “Disorder” is probably the stand-out.
and I've sent signals and signs from the mountainsides
M. Ward "Radio Campaign"
Another weekend, another show I know I’m going to miss: M. Ward
will be at the MFA
Saturday night, and I won’t. Last week it was the Futureheads
, last night it was Six Organs of Admittance
, and tomorrow it’ll be the man responsible for Transistor Radio
, one of the three or four albums I’ve really gotten into thus far this year. Ward’s entrancing voice and superior songwriting skills distinguish him from like-minded lesser lights like Pedro the Lion and Damien Jurardo. Ward’s best work, including “Radio Campaign”, sounds like a late ‘20’s radio broadcast temporally displaced to the here and now; it’s easy to imagine Ward’s tender ditties sandwiched between Bascam Lamar Lunsford
and an ad for Gold Dust Powder. Dead Meadow "Stacy's Song"
So yes, I’ve completely gotten out of the habit of going to shows, and I can no longer tell if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’ll check out a band if they’re playing nearby, like at Great Scott
, which is closer to my apartment than the nearest Dunkin Donuts (ie, to non-Bostonians, it’s really fuckin’ close). I’ll also make it out if I can get in for free, as with the Crooked Fingers
show later this month. But if it involves any effort, or, even worse, money, you can pretty much count me out. Thankfully, Dead Meadow
will stop at Great Scott when they plow through town, and so I should make it to that one. Their new album, Feathers
, is less heavy than previous records, and has a few attempts at a more pop-centric style. “Stacy’s Song”
, for instance, while retaining the mysterious, shadowy pines psychedelia of Shivering King and Others
, does so without the heft and volume we’ve come to expect. It actually has some semblance of a vocal melody, and the beginning is flat-out pretty. This sounds more like the Brian Jonestown Massacre
, or something.
you get suspicious when i bring my friends from the carnival over
thebrotheregg "Mercury Retrograde"
Formerly on Nick Salomon
’s Woronzow Records
, Portland, Oregon’s thebrotheregg
shares the historical perspective of Salomon’s Bevis Frond
without sounding much like them. The tasteful, slightly off-kilter folk-pop on their new album, Aortica Mor
, exhibits flashes of Love
, Nick Drake
, Van Morrison
, and the Incredible String Band
. It still retains its own identity, though, largely due to Adam Goldman
’s somewhat awkward vocals, and an overarching sense of rainy-day idleness. “Mercury Retrograde”
, with its wistful melody and strings, and that pretty, boy/girl/boy break-down, is one thoroughly satisfying indie-pop chestnut. The album itself is long as hell, but enjoyable in the main. Thunderbirds Are Now! "198090 (Aquatic Cupid's)"Thunderbirds Are Now!
sounds perhaps a bit too much like their corporate sugardaddies Les Savy Fav
. Their second record, Justamustache
, comes out on the Fav's Frenchkiss Records later this Spring, and is indicative of a young band finding their way. They're proficient at emulating their influences, but
have yet to transcend them. But through such emulation they still find some noteworthy rock hits. The jerky "198090 (Aquatic Cupid's)"
might be the most Favtastic tune on here, but it's also probably the best. This passel of skewed new wave bustle and grade-school math could easily fit on Inches
or Go Forth
, and would probably raise that last one's batting average several points or so. And though constant comparisons to their bosses might rankle the Thunderbird braintrust, the fact remains that they are entirely justified, and even required. This is like Merge
circa '99 signing some band that sounded like a near-perfect recreation of No Pocky for Kitty
. The simulation is too lifelike to deny.
a quick follow-up from last week
The Futureheads "Meantime"The Futureheads "Alms"
And here, we talk about them below
, but for Hillary’s benefit we’ll post a couple songs from the Futureheads’
debut record. Were I a 14-year-old, I would most likely be obsessed with this band. Seeing as how I’m far past my early teens, I can appreciate and enjoy it, but can’t quite truly love it. The record is very good, but too reminiscent of the past glories of others to be truly great. I’m sorta bummed I missed their show, but not overly. And I’ll need to be convinced all over again when the second album hits, but for now I’m liking them quite a bit. Yes sir.
it's like a culture without the effort of all of the culture
LCD Soundsystem "Movement"The Fall "Psykick Dancehall #2"
Coke Bref and I usually agree about everything; our undernourished minds are almost one. We both find the lemon drop to be the sweetest lemon-flavored martini. We know that beer is never finer than when it’s enjoyed upon a subway car at eight in the morning. FRESHMINISTRIES
is our favorite faith-based initiative. Yes, we are brothers in opinion, cousins of concurrence. This truth be most real.
But we might differ when it comes to the new LCD Soundsystem
record. Coke finds it underwhelming
, whereas I am thoroughly whelmed by it. Some tracks slack some, but not everything can be expected to rule it. The song cited by my colleague most definitely stands proud as the alb’s crowning achievement, but there is much else to be commended upon that reflective laser-beam receptor. “Movement”
, for instance, is a corker, and perhaps the prime exemplar of the LCD guy’s Mark E. Smith
fixation. Yes, much of this record resembles the Fall
, and not the early period rockin’ stuff that most frequently gets ripped, but the relatively crappy early ‘90’s technoesque material that is widely looked down upon. “Daft Punk is Playing in My House”
could be off of Extricate
or Code: Selfish
, and, were that so, would be the best song on either. But “Movement”, the song in question, rocks it up enough to resemble the classic Fall. In fact, it sorta reminds me of “Psykick Dancehall #2”
, a very early single. Murphy even nicks the singing, and somehow does it in an inoffensive fashion. Way to go, buddy.
But so, this record is certainly fine enough, and the second disc is, as everybody feels impelled to state, better than the first. You can buy this thing hereabouts
, and the Fall tune can be found on this compilation
dambusters of content are go
Turing Machine "Bitte, Baby, Bitte"
Here’s the deal: I aim for perpetual dailyness. A post a day shouldn’t be too big of a drag, and with just the tiniest amount of prepwork would be easily within reach. But Monday they had me in training, and Tuesday I was out sick (with one hell of a headache and an ornery gut), so this early bulwark in our burgeoning media empire has gone untended to for a little while. To make up for it, I’ll have three posts today. Yes, a massive undertaking, but one that I am dedicated to see through to completion. ‘Cuz, you know, I’m all about giving the three of you free shit.
First up: “Bitte, Baby, Bitte”
, by the Turing Machine
. My review
of their latest alb Zwei
is up at DOA
today, if’n you want to know my semi-pro opinion. Zwei
is halfway to dullsville, but when it’s on, it’s on to the full extent of the law. Like on “Bitte, Baby, Bitte”, a very long, yet pivotal, entry into the kraut-punk canon. Not for those that are impatient or that dislike that which is good and/or worthwhile, “Bitte Baby Bitte” insistently hammers down the point that, at least during these thirteen minutes, the Turing Machine can be as tops as anybody.
Buy it here