No love to be found...
Baby Huey - Hard Times Ghostface Killah - Buck 50
The story as I heard it for the first time a few years back is that Baby Huey, a very large individual, was some sort of soul guitar prodigy who ate himself to death, distraught over the death of his hero, Jimi Hendrix. Not quite nearly the truth but maybe close. According to the All Music Guide he had some sort of glandular problem that had him hovering in the 3-400 lbs. range & he died of a drug-related heart attack in a hotel room before his debut The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend
was released on Curtom. The song seems somehow heavier given the weight of the possibly apocryphal backstory. One of a handful of soul songs that make me sad & want to dance at the same time (provided it's played near the end of the night, when it's obvious I’ll be spending the night alone).
The Ghostface track does just loop sped-up, extended bits of the song but it’s the 4 beats of trill-y flutes that really seal it for me. I finally caught onto Supreme Clientele
3 years after it came out, just as I was rethinking my ignorance of all Wu Tang-related albums besides the first. The rest of the album is great & my favorite of the solo Wu records, although the instrumentals + dialogue version of RZA’s Ghost Dog soundtrack (out of print Japanese import, damn it!) is pretty fantastic too.
And in related news, there’s a RZA interview w/Terry Gross on the Fresh Air site that's worth a listen here
this is destined to be a pretty lop-sided feud
: "Opening the Closet"
from All Hip-Hop
TREY SONGZ VS R.KELLY Hillary
I’ve been avoiding this rumor, but there is R&B BEEF on the grill. So, this new dude Trey Songz and R.Kelly are going head to head like a pair of battering rams. This whole thing started out as one of Kelly’s songs for his new CD, “The Closet.” This is another steamy, overly hot song about cheating. In the song, Kelly can’t leave the house of another woman, because her hubby is in the house… So, Kelly apparently left the ending open and there are four other parts to the saga. Along comes new jack Trey Songz and his song called “Opening The Closet!” From what I understand, his song is from the perspective of the man that’s about to open the closet on the cheater. Problem is Trey Songz’s song is getting quite a bit of play and its casting a shadow on Kelly’s original. Atlantic, Songz’s label, didn’t release it, but he is signed to the label. To complicate matters, I heard that Kelz is trying to work out a label deal with Warner Music/ Atlantic and lil’ ole’ Trey Songz is jamming up the process. We’ll see what’s what with this one.
sent "Opening the Closet" to me last week, but I didn't put it up right away because I had no idea what the hell it was. Who is Trey Songz, anyway? It's pretty obviously not a parody, or at least not a successful one, as proven by the fact that it's not nearly as funny as the original. I thought perhaps it was supposed to be the song retold from the cuckold's POV, but since he woke up with a chick at the beginning I figured that couldn't be it, either. Apparently it is supposed to be, though, and unfortunately for poor Mr. Songz the narrative thread of Kells' original epic renders this response immediately irrelevent. Other than the Febreeze ref, there's basically no compelling reason to listen to this thing.
when idea outstrips execution
: "Laser Bitch"Genghis Tron
is some absolutely ridiculous band from Poughkeepsie that merges the currently very in vogue new wave stylization with some thrashin’ scream-ass grind-metal nonsense. It’s a wondrous concoction that’s at once awesome and hideously awful. Their ep Cloak of Love
is quite beloved with the younger staffers at WZBC
. I give them points for the concept, but get bored quickly when listening to the disc, as every song sounds practically the same. It can be interesting in isolated doses, though.
I've Been Lovin' Every Night
Huey Lewis and the News
: "Heart and Soul"
I used to have a theory about how anything that was good when you were six is truly good, and will remain good forever. It doesn’t pan out in many aspects, but it works with music, for the most part. Not that Mickey’s Splashdance
is any great piece of art, or anything, but it’s still fun to listen to. Back in ’83 an older brother got big into Huey Lewis and the News
, and so by extension Sports
became my first favorite non-Disney record. I’d borrow his cassette and rock out in the living room to “I Want a New Drug” and “The Heart of Rock and Roll”. Like Jerkwater, I’d be riffin’ on the air-sax, blowing my mind out like an imaginary Johnny Colla, fantasizing about being on stage in front of the Statue of Liberty, or down at Robards Arena
. To my six-year-old brain, Sports was the greatest rock and roll record ever, primarily because it was the first one I’d ever listened to.
Twenty-one years later (and one week ago) I bought an old vinyl copy of Sports for a dollar. I hadn’t listened to this thing since I was in elementary school, but I still remembered every single song, even if the names weren’t familiar. Some of it is cringe-worthy, but nothing can diminish the excellence of “Heart and Soul”
. Its combination of white-guy pseudo-disco-funk, cheery ‘80’s synths, and hard-rocking pop-metal crunch is sublime. It wasn’t my favorite as a kid, but in the sober light of adulthood it’s probably the best song on the record.
Please forgive the bad rip; I sorta fucked up, and forgot to cut out the ending to “The Heart of Rock and Roll” at the start.
I've drunk from small brown bottles since I was so long
: "Hip Priest"Dana
over at Mystical Beast
was kind enough to repost the Dustdevils’ cover of “Hip Priest”
, per my request. It starts off slowly, but once it really kicks in it almost reaches the heights of the original. If you want to compare the two, you can download the Fall’s original here. The Fall is my favorite band, and even though this is a pretty iconic song for Mark E. Smith, it’s not nearly their best tune. I’d have a hard time saying what is, but there’s at least a dozen or so I prefer over “Hip Priest”. Anyhow, the Dustdevils version is the best Fall cover I’ve ever heard, and thanks again to Dana for putting it back up.
Make-a one man weep, make another man sing
fukkin' rawkHuey Lewis and the News
: "The Power of Love"
I moved to San Francisco for two reasons- my suspicion that Huey Lewis and the News are/were from here, and the burritos. The first tape I ever remember owning was the Back to the Future soundtrack. My dad went on TDY (don't know what that stands for, but it's the equivalent of a business trip in the military), and inexplicably gave it to me as a gift upon his return. It was the tradition to receive something interesting from the far off realms. It's how I found out about nutella, years upon years before it was sold in the US. See, this process made a lot more sense when he went to Turkey or something like that, but this time he gave me a cassette tape. It is precisely at this moment that I'm thinking maybe we went TDY to the Bay Area and the souvenir was the Huey Lewis-centric soundtrack.
Sure enough, I was soon air-shredding both the guitar AND the sax to the Huey Lewis jams on the soundtrack, and Huey Lewis quickly became my favorite band, to be usurped by GNR a few years later.
Come Here, Come Hither: this Go-Betweens shit is Through
: "Hammer the Hammer"The Go-Betweens
: "Rock and Roll Friend
Okay, it’s been more than a week, but this giant Go-Betweens rigamorole is finally ended here, once and for goodness’s sake. This was supposed to go up yesterday, but work and laziness intervened in equal measure. But this wondrous Thursday is as exceedingly fine a day as any for our final thoughts on the Go-Betweens, so let’s shove off into our murky estuary of overblown rhetoric and addle-brained faux-insight.
I only own four cds by this band, and two of them are “greatest hits”-ish compilations. I dig them, but clearly am not a superfan like our friend SA
. Some of my favorite songs by them aren’t from any of their albums, though. I don’t know if they were released as singles, or b-sides, or what, but there are a few songs from some early ‘90’s compilation that don’t appear on any of the albums or Bellavista Terrace
, the best-of released in ’99. “Hammer the Hammer”
is one of these songs. I do believe it was a single, actually, and, from the sound of it, obviously one from the early ‘80’s. I suppose I could do some research, but I’d rather make use of assumptions and conjecture than actual facts or knowledge. Either way, “Hammer the Hammer” is a good one, having a bit more of a late ‘70’s, early ‘80’s post-punk feel than your typical Go-Betweens jaunt. It’s simpler and more direct than most of their albums, catchy enough to be a single, but almost lightweight enough to be a tossed-off b-side. The lyrics don’t have any special appeal for me, really, but I do think the vocals are some of the finest in the band’s oeuvre. Sort of like “People Say”, this one bears a resemblance to their antipodean contemporaries from the Flying Nun label, more so than the vast majority of their recordings. It’s just a nice pop song, you know?
Okay, yeah, “Rock and Roll Friend”
is fruity. It’s also beautiful, though, in a slightly more professional Sarah Records
kind of way. Again, it’s very straight-forward and simple melodically, and lyrically no bearer of amazing insight or emotion. But those shimmering chords, that earnest guitar figure, the utterly basic yet agreeable bassline, and that winsome guitar solo at the end (an obvious precursor to the sterling outro to Imbruglia’s ”Torn”
) are all, for me, undeniable. This sounds like Echo and the Bunnymen
’s more glorious moments, but without all the melodrama and bookish brooding. This comes from the same early ‘90’s compilation, called something plain like The Go-Betweens ’78-‘90
, which is a much better introduction to the band than Bellavista Terrace.
And alright, that’s it. No more Go-Betweens, ever. We’ve killed them dead. Join us next week as we start our tribute to Huey Lewis
. But not the News
. The News can go fuck themselves, for all we care. Except for that slick cat who’s always smoking, though, he’s pretty cool.
It Gave Me Something Small That I Could Feel... : Go-Betweens Part Five
Final update from SA
: "Caroline and I"
The reunion kept on keeping on and the 2nd mk II album, Bright Yellow Bright Orange
, hit the fan in 2003. The opening track, "Caroline and I"
, sounds mundane as the opening chords strike, but what saves it is the lyrical content. About being born the same year as the princess of Monaco, the song has a unique feel to it. I don't know how Forster comes up with the subjects he sings about, but the great thing about him is he pulls them off. I can't imagine being in my mid-forties and writing a song about growing up during the same timeframe as an obscure(?) royal woman who I don't know. I'll admit that lyrics usually aren't all that important to me, but McLennan and Forster are both skilled in the art of the lyric, and Forster in particular can be downright fascinating at times. The Go-Betweens
: "Born to a Family"
Crews had the good fortune to see this played live last night, as they are currently on tour in support of their newest album Oceans Apart
. I am no fool for loving this band so much, or at least the music critics don't think I'm a fool, as Oceans Apart is currently ranked #5 on the year at Metacritic
. For this one, they called upon the 16 Lovers Lane producer and pulled out all the stops. It appears they have hit it big in... Germany!? Yes, it is true. Good for them. "Born to a Family"
is a peppy little jaunt again about looking back and again doing it in Forster's own style. It reminds me musically of Springsteen
's "Working on the Highway"
, and that's a good thing.
He'll save every one of us
Common - The Corner (feat. the Last Poets & Kanye West) Public Enemy - Terminator X to the Edge of Panic
The keyboard in the opening bars of Common’s mostly Kanye West-produced new album Be sounds like a Casio version of the “Happy Birthday Lisa” song that Bart &
Michael write in that one episode. I kind of thought I'd accidentally downloaded the ringtone. Then the drums come in & it makes more sense. I’m still working my way through the rest of the record as I type this but the first single “The Corner” has made me pay way more attention to Common than I have in some years. In all honesty it may have even been the video (directed by Kanye!?!), which begins with giant titles ala the opening credits of Panic Room superimposed over the Chicago lakefront (oh, home...(for those of you haven’t seen it, I’m looking at you Darkness, think the cover of that Lambchop record “Nixon”)). Then Common rapping in the front seat of a car driving the streets on a bitter looking winter day. The song itself begins with a sub-stutter of kick drum that immediately makes me think of “Terminator X to the Edge of Panic” until West’s trademark sped up soul sample drops instead of the JBs siren sound. You’d think he’d be tired of that trick by now but he’s not. And maybe even more surprising is that he somehow makes it work here, still. The drums lope along, doing their business, the Last Poets deliver their guest bit as the wise men on milk crates dispensing nuggets of info and Kanye’s little chorus couplets don’t overtake the song like he might if someone other than Common was behind the wheel. My current favorite part of the song is his ‘uh-uh, uh-uh-uh’ that follows the drums. Oh, and Common’s verses are pretty great, too.
Coming next: things you might love to hate - Joan of Arc vs. Scott Walker. Rejoice!!!
They once chopped my heart the way you chop a tree: Go-Betweens part 4
and yet more from SA
Capitol records signed the Go-Betweens
for their sixth album, 16 Lovers Lane
. Now they were poised, more than ever, to hit the big time. While a lot of money went into recording the album (produced by famous producer Mark Wallis), the songs were still not compromised in any way. Some may be turned off by the extreme sheen on this record, but it's a good album through and through. This one was the most difficult to pick a song out of, as I could have easily picked 6 out of the 10 tunes to be my favorite one. With that in mind, I don't think it's necessary for me to dissect the song featured.
Of course, they didn't hit the big time with 16 Lover's Lane, although it did produce their biggest radio hit, ”Streets of Your Town”
. Fed up, convinced by themselves and critics and a fervent cult following that they should be huge, they called it quits shortly afterwards. It also didn't help that the two couples in the band (Forster and drummer Lindy Morrison; McLennan and multi-instrumentalist Amanda Brown) broke up. This album's been referred to as the "indie Rumours". The Go-Betweens
: "Going Blind"
12 years go by. Forster and McLennan turn out some solo records to mixed reviews. In the late '90's they tour as a duo in support of the release of Bellavista Terrace: the Best of the Go-Betweens
. They have so much fun, they decide to make another go at it as the Go-B's. Sleater Kinney, ultimate fans, are at a show where they announce their plans to reform. They offer their services as the backing band. A new day is born.........
How many bands break up for twelve years, reform, and don't sound washed up? The Go-Betweens may be the only one. Especially with having listened to some of their solo records, it's completely amazing how vital and... unwashed up they sound on 2000's The Friends of Rachel Worth
. Once again, the sound is totally different from any other album, yet it still sounds like the album after Sixteen Lover's Lane. ”Going Blind”
is the single, and one of the catchiest songs McLennan's ever written.
Whatever I Have is Yours, and It's...
More thoughts from Jerkwater
, aka SA
: "To Reach Me"
So now we stray from the Go-b's "classics," so to speak. I could've picked one of the two obvious choices from '86's Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
, "Spring Rain"
or "Head Full of Steam"
, but this is my favorite song on this album. What is the point of Go-Between's week anyway? Purely for the satisfaction of one Dark Ness and Ess Ey. We just got our first comment today, from the ever-reliable Hillary. This song marks the first example of what would become the definitive Go-B's guitar sound. The guitar lead is a two-note chord melody, most notable at the very end of the song. Most comparisons from newer bands to the Go-Betweens are usually referenced through this guitar style.
This pick was also inspired by it's surprising inclusion on the set lists of their most recent tour. If you like this, you'll have to go visit Crews in Chapel Hill to see them. The Go-Betweens
: "Right Here"
Their fifth album Tallullah
brought them their first, very minor, radio hit... "Right Here"
. If you don't like this, I can understand, because it does sort of sound like something you'd here in the dentist's office (if you dislike "Cattle & Cane", however, then we have a fundamental difference in musical tastes and I will not take any recommendations from you again). Were they trying to 'go for it'? The simple answer is "absolutely not", although it is speculated that the first single off this record, "Cut It Out"
, was McLennon's attempt at a radio smash, and the song totally sucks. But classics like "Right Here" and "Bye Bye Pride"
were just the next step in their evolution. These guys were getting older, more mature, and their music reflected that. Another reason for this more adult sound is the addition of McLennen's girlfriend Amanda Brown, who brought a smorgasborg of instruments into the fold, most notably singing, violin, and oboe.
I shoplifted a cd entitled "Indie Rock", although it was the german words for "indie rock", which I don't know anymore. I know it was called that because I remember wondering what indie rock meant back then at the tender age of 14. Soul Asylum, Sugar, Dinosaur Jr, Ministry, you name it. All the big alternative bands were on it, and now that I know how the music industry works I don't understand how they could license all that music. It was a double disc, 40 song behemoth of a comp, and I loved this song called "Right Here" by a band I'd never heard of called the Go-Betweens. I had designs to even check out some of their albums. However, about six months later I moved back to America and the movers stole almost all of my cd's. I love the "Indie Rock" compilation and my piece of shit memory forgot all about the Go-Betweens. About six years later the Go-Betweens released a 'best of' cd. The band name had been in my subconscious mind since the "INDIE STEIN" days (I just now remembered the word for "rock"), and I was compelled to buy it for reasons I then did not understand. They purposefully left "Right Here" off of the set, who knows why, but the bonus live cd revealed my past to me. When they broke into "Right Here" I shocked myself by immediately singing along to every word.... what a revelation! Within a year I had all of their albums.
Party, down at the Boys Ranch
- "All My Friends Are Dead"
This is the only mp3 off the new album that I could find.
Drops in the US next month.
Turbonegro was hands down the best opening band that I have ever witnessed. Griggs, Elliott and I saw them open for the Queens back in '03 and they fucking blew us out of the water. These guys are up there as far as funniest bands on the face of the earth. I hate to say it but they might even bury Ween. The thing is they are a lot smarter than most critics give them credit for. On the exterior they seem like a bunch of fags who can play guitar and make up some jokes, which shit they are - but shit Turbonegro are lightyears ahead of 100% of what is on all radio right now.
This song is average - but the european reviews I have read so far have not listed this song as one of the best on the album. However, it was the only one I could find. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND BUY A TURBONEGRO RECORD RIGHT NOW!
Still though, I GOT ERECTION!!!
From the first letter I got to this her Bill of Rights: The Go-Betweens Part Two
: "Cattle and Cane"
By their second album, the Go-Betweens
had found their way. On 1983's Before Hollywood
they shed the roughness of their earlier work, becoming polished and assured. Listen to ”Cattle and Cane”
, maybe their greatest work; their evocation of youth, unsentimentally nostalgic, is beautiful in its understatement. I yearn at the drop of a hat, and while “Cattle and Cane” triggers that, it also makes me feel sort of guilty for always dwelling on the past. Memory wastes, not just by fading away, but by wasting one’s time and potential. Get too wrapped up in memory, and you won’t be making any new ones worth remembering. My mind gets locked on the past a couple dozen times a day, frequently bringing on the expected feelings of hopelessness and regret. Compare it to ”Summer of ‘69”
, another fantastic song; Bryan Adams desperately wants to return to his youth, declaring that everything since has basically sucked. That’s a more natural, but far less healthy, way of looking at the past than what we hear in “Cattle and Cane”. The Go-Betweens glance backwards but continue moving, further, longer, and higher, whereas Adams wishes he’d always be back in ’69. So there’s a wisdom and a maturity to “Cattle and Cane” that you rarely find in songs about lost youth. Between that and the stealthily infectious music, “Cattle and Cane” is one of the finest pop songs I’ve ever encountered. The Go-Betweens
: "Part Company"Jerkwater Johnson
Hot off the success of Before Hollywood, the Go-b's added a bass player so McLennen could jam his nifty guitar parts live. One of the things that I like the most about this, my declared 'favorite' band, is the progression from album to album. Each is distinct from one another, and you can tell which one came before it and which came after it. To compare the the first 80's album to the last 80's album... they're completely and totally different, yet it's easily identifiable as coming from the same people. They are still, to this day, evolving their sound. No re-treads. 'Part Company'
comes from their third album, 1984's Spring Hill Fair
. It's got the melodic, softly angular, post-punk/indie pop sheen from its predecessor, but the songs begin to take on a more conventional structure. 'Cattle and Cane' doesn't even have a chorus; it just kind of chugs along, albeit awesomely (I would have written gorgeously or beautifully, but it seemed against the mez ecl standards). 'Part Company' is standard guitar hook/verse/chorus/repeat. And what a guitar hook. It's so simple, but it really makes the tune... and when coupled with the lyrics the song elevates into classic territory for me. But what the heck is that keyboardy thing in the background? It has been known to make people think their car is broken.
I'm Gonna Take You 'Til the Kingdom Comes : The Go-Betweens, Part One
Okay, we’re finally going to do our week of updates about the Go-Betweens
. Australian-bred but London-based, the Go-Betweens song-writing team of Robert Forster
and Grant McLennan
was responsible for some of the best unpopular pop hits of the 1980's. Too refined for both the mainstream and the underground, they were respected by critics, but mostly ignored by the public. They maintained a tenuous grasp upon a major label contract throughout the decade, before breaking up for ten years or so at the end of the '80's. They never broke through to commercial radio, but never came close to being as widely beloved as such '80's college-radio staples as REM
, Sonic Youth
, or the Replacements
. Perhaps they would have found some degree of success in those amazingly alternative '90's, but they were long-gone by then.
It feels odd to be starting this off, since Sean is a much bigger fan of the band than I am. I like them a great deal, don’t get me wrong, but I’m fairly certain that they’re Sean’s favorite band, and, as such, he should introduce them, in a perfect world. I own their first album, though, and Sean doesn’t, so I drew the assignment out of necessity, and shall get down to it now after wasting everybody’s time for the last two paragraphs.Go-Betweens
: "People Say"
It’s easy to see why the Go-Betweens have never been very popular. Their literate pop-music, while catchy, was never as overtly melodic as, say, the Magnetic Fields, or as wistful or mawkish as Belle and Sebastian. This is especially true of their early work, which is what we’ll be discussing today. "People Say"
was the a-side of their second single, recorded in 1979, and included on the 1999 cd 78 'til 79 The Lost Album
. The Lost Album
is just that, a previously unreleased collection of random two-track recordings from the late '70's, sandwiched between the band's first two singles. It is not in any way a remarkable collection, despite the pleasantness of the two singles, but it is a good snapshot of a young band that has yet to find its way. "People Say" is a terrific little tune, clearly in the thrall of the Clean
, with a nice keyboard line bouncing about a catchy, almost Velvets-y pop song. The musical sophistication which later became their calling card is not much in evidence, however. It's very much the sound of a band still tentatively exploring their possibilities, groping towards an approximation of pop songcraft, and, with "People Say", finally coming up with something truly worthwhile. Most of The Lost Album
vacillates between the charmingly ham-fisted and the marginally interesting; "People Say" is obviously the highlight. It may sound like a group of inexperienced college kids, but that's basically what the Go-Betweens were at this point. Go-Betweens
: "One Thing Can Hold Us"
If The Lost Album
is the result of a young band who has yet to discover their own path, then Send Me a Lullaby
is that same band hopelessly lost in the woods. The Go-Betweens did progress between 1979 and 1982, but it can be hard to tell. 1982's Lullaby
, their first full-length album, is quite fairly regarded as the least of their records. Maybe their songwriting skills didn't yet match up to their ambitions, or perhaps they were ashamed of or uncomfortable with said goals; either way, Lullaby
is a frequently awkward and unwieldy album. Between indifferent instrumentation, lackluster lyrics, and downright ugly melodies, Lullaby
sounds like the product of a thoroughly confused band. This is not to say it's bad, though, or unworthy of attention. The band's future greatness can occasionally be glimpsed, and some of the slightly more experimental aspects are surprisingly rewarding. At the same time, though, "One Thing Can Hold Us"
is probably more recognizable as a Go-Betweens song than anything they had yet to record. It remains a little rougher around the edges than future recordings, but in its tasteful catchiness, and moderately mature, sedate accoutrements, the future of Forster/McLennan is apparent. This is the Go-Betweens sound, not fully fleshed out, but entirely evident, and quite enjoyable. "One Thing Can Hold Us" is the launching pad for greatness.
Tomorrow: um, that greatness I just spoke of.
: "Trapped in the Closet V"
Wow, what a completely random and disappointing "surprise" ending. I was hoping Kelly would become the Rod Serling of the hip-hop generation, but no dice. I'd say that R. is definitely no M. Night in the wily trickster category, but that dude pretty much sucks, too.
Who knows, maybe the videos will reignite the passion.
My Red Hot Car
Mos Def - Ms. Fat Booty Q-Tip - Vivrant Thing
I don't know. Maybe it's the few minutes of MTV I watched at dinner time or something about the first couple of semi-hottt days in Boston or something I can't even put my finger on. I don't know. I was feeling a little late 90s, summer hip-hop nostalgia today. The first song is a single from Mos Def's solo record that landed after his excellent debut as part of Black Star with Talib Qweli. It's not my favorite song on the record (which is pretty great all the way through) but it does what it needs to do & it turns the typical "booty song" on its head (sort of). He tells the story of a girl that he admired from afar, dated, fell in love with & when he asked for exclusivity, she drops him. The Q-Tip track is pretty much a booty song. There isn't much to it but what there is hooked me right away. The whole productions is pretty much 6 or 8 bars looped but it's undeniable. If I had an abstract car I'd definitely, er, bump these in my system.
Men (and women) at Work
Architecture in Helsinki
: "The Cemetary"Architecture in Helsinki
: "It's 5!"
My reggae outfit just got back from a short tour opening up the new 'hot' band. Their songs are lodged so far into my brain that I feel moved to post them up on the old internet mp3 blog. Hillary, Zig, Rob, Crox, Ice, and especially Crews-- I can't see why you guys wouldn't like them. Dark already likes them. They don't have any blazing guitar solos, so I'm not sure if OJ'll like em (did you actually like the masters?).
In their consistently great reviews, they garner plenty of comparisons to the Fiery Furnaces
. The similarity I can see is that I'd catagorize both as indie pop/prog, but other than that I don't see it. AIH works with a much broader palette, and on their new album they try just about everything, as heard on 'Cemetary'
, the live favorite. They've got eight band members who switch it up like nothing the world has ever seen. On 'Cemetary', the main drummer goes and grabs the main singer's guitar. A guy who primarily play trombone and percussion goes behind the drum kit and turns out to be a better drummer than the regular drummer. The singer goes and plays one of the two keyboards. And then there's another keyboard player, a bass player, a guitar player, a trombone player, and a trumpet player. Other instruments played live are the bongos (sometimes by me when I was too drunk to stay off stage), melodica, clarinet, tuba, glockenspiel, recorder, saxophone and acoustic guitar.
What I think of more than Fiery Furnaces is Smile
. If you don't know Smile that well, just think 'Good Vibrations'
. Similar to that song, these are cut up into tons of totally different parts using completly different sets of instruments and then seemlessly woven together. 'It'5!'
starts off with a vocal a cappella. Then after a few seconds it breaks into the verse, then another type of verse thing, then the chorus, then a bridge, then another bridge. then a stop. then another verse, alternate verse, a different version of the chorus which is drawn out into a horn part into half the second bridge and it's over. Two minutes and 7 seconds.
Finally, a tour story as recounted in an e-mail:
One night the guy that played before us played a cover of 'fly like an eagle', so i was drunkenly inspired to try out a completely random coverand solicited the crowd for requests. someone shouted 'under pressure' so we were going to do it but fucking drew couldn't figure out the two-note bassline and we had to abort the mission. i apologized for our lack of ability to jam. then when architecture played, they looked at me and said "this one's for sean" and played a perfect cover of 'ice ice baby'. they knew all the words and everything. they made us look like dogshit, man. so then we kept talking about a duel between 'big bird' and 'big lord' (the singer of aih and gabe, respectively) on stage. big lord wasn't into it because he thought they'd figure out a way to sabotage us.
we had been having them come on stage with all their trombones and trumpets and shit and play along to 'coupla smokees' to end the set every night. so the last night in seattle i called them up on stage to play it, and they're all standing there with us, ready to jam, and i say into the microphone "the duel ends now" and we break into 'land down under' by men at work. fucking obliterated them. we learned it in the van while they were soundchecking that day.
roughly translates to "tanned diamond"
: "Taivaalla Tapahtuu"Avarus
: "Yo Tuli Ja Beduini"tUMULt
, the weird metal / heavy noise label from California, and the party at least partly responsible for Harvey Milk
’s renaissance, has compiled all the out-of-print releases from Avarus
here on a double-disc monster called Ruskeatimantti
. Jan Anderzen, founding member of both Avarus and Kemialliset Ystavat
, is probably the linchpin of the cresting Finnish “free-folk” biz, and is thusly responsible for some of the best mind-zapping rock of the last few years. If you dig on extraterrestrial forest jams and/or Asgard rock (which, I’m assuming, all our readers must do), then Avarus is worth exploring. That moment forty seconds or so into “Taivalla Tapahtuu”
, when the stark stringed-thing plucks give way to a lo-fi rock drone, fairly encapsulates the musical range of this hippified noise cabal. The twirling, childlike lilt of “Yo Tuli Ja Beduini”
, with its haphazard whistles, strings, and drums, sounds almost naïve enough to be some sort of outsider Kraut-rock. These two pieces are indicative of the two-disc set as a whole, yet neither one can provide an accurate glimpse into the beauty of the twenty-minute piece called “AVP”
. It’s a little too long to fit on this site, but for anybody who likes these two examples I heartily recommend hunting down Ruskeatimantti in order to hear “AVP”.