Friday, December 31, 2004

Holiday Haul

Did I go to the used record store in Eugene, Oregon over the holidays? Hmmm, I might have. I picked up a triple-vinyl Sun City Girls reissue for my brother-in-law and he returned the favor by getting me the John Cassavetes Criterion Collection Boxed-Set!! We've got a good thing going. I also bought him a copy of the Bunnybrains box set on Narnack. Bunnybrains being my brother's goofy and wonderful band. I told Maria that a trip to the record store was present enough for me. She also bought me Choosing Death, a history of death metal and grindcore from Feral House. A good read that I gobbled up in a day or two. Definitely gave me some more album buying ideas. It also made me shamefully realize that I own NO Napalm Death albums. Not a one. I don't know how these things happen. I really don't. Anyway, here's a little list of what I picked up in Eugene. I haven't absorbed them all yet though. I't nice to play them in the comfort of one's own home. Not that the Oregon contingent didn't enjoy some of them. They did.

Jackson Heights - King Progress (Mercury) Ex-Nice guitarist makes nice and sez: "sorry for all those keyboard solos!" by making a lovely and subdued prog/folk/psych album that I have already listened to 5 times. I dig it. I'm gonna have to search out the other Jackson Heights stuff.
Spreadeagle - The Piece Of Paper (Charisma) Surprisingly tuneful and entertaining Shel Talmy-produced hippy-rock piffle. I need to listen some more.

Martha Velez - Fiends & Angels (Sire/London) Nice one! Martha has a big bloozy growl and the production is shiny, loud, & clear. Great guitar leads that are fuzzy AND piercing. She's a belter and can get a little hambone a la Judy Henske (who i love, but not everyone can take the blooze mama bombast), but overall a solid record all the way. Kinda wonder why I've never heard of it. Maybe I missed that issue of Mojo.

Mashmakhan - S/T (Epic) Another keeper. Dreamy and artful Canadian psych/rock/pop. Some really nice ideas on this one and some good playing. I was suspicious of the Gene Lees liners cuz he goes out of his way to say how Mashmakhan aren't just your typical kiddie group. No, they are jazzy! Which is usually a warning sign for bad horn rock ahead. Plus, he namechecks Bobby Colomby of Blood, Seat, & Tears. But no! Tis better than all that. (and no direspect toward BS&T intended. They do have a lot to answer for though.) This record is just one of a thousand really good art-rock albums that came out at the tail-end of the 60's and which were largely forgotten once those shiny new moogs began to blare. 1968 and 1969 were great years for records that weren't one thing or another. Adventurous records that were born dead cuz the dream had died, psychedelia was passe, and we we were going to the country to gig frogs, pick, and grin. (and then pass out in our own waste. And then wake up horrified and end up going to law school. Not ME. Other people. All those gentleman pot-farmers.)

Charley D. And Milo - S/T (Epic) Gentleman pot-farmers unite! This record is a warm breeze of a thing. And again, I must have missed the Mojo that hyped it cuz this is right up their King Parsons/Beechwood Sparks alley. Lovely harmonies, lotsa guitars, acidic baths of twang. Great cover of Richard & Mimi's "Pack Up Your Sorrows". It ends with the weary drug traveller's mantra "Om Sweet Om". Brain-fried C&W fans need this now.

Girls In The Garage - Vols. 8, 10, & 11. (Romulan) I don't know whether I have them all now or what. I dig this series a bunch. Vol.10 is all French and Canadian ye-ye girl action and it's worth its weight in gold. Vol.11 is all over the world with the femme garage/pop/surf beat. Vol.8 has U.S. and Euro gals on it. Die Sweetles, Los Spitfires, Norma Tracy & The Cinderella Kids, Shammy & The Famous Ruis Family, The Liverbirds. You know, all the biggies.

Billy Mitchel - Might Be Hope (Mercury) Billy has a bad case of the scats. He's a homegrown hippie folkie who apparently would rather be the next Ella Fitzgerald. There is a lovely blissed-out track on here called "Electronic Dance" that is all sitar and strange female spoken word and sound effects that really gets a good vibe going and then Billy comes along toward the end and scats all over it!! Dude!! What the fuck?

Love - Four Sail (Elektra) I sold my copy years ago when I used to sell records for money and I always thought I would be able to find another one easy enough but I don't get around like I used to and in the meantime people have discovered that this is a really good record and not the dud that people told them it was and I didn't want to buy a reissue or a -shudder- cd so I finally found a perfect copy for 5 bucks in Eugene, Oregon. Got that? Cool.

Sand - S/T (Barnaby/MGM) This isn't a very good record. Or maybe I just haven't been in the right mood to appreciate all that Sand have to offer. I have always liked the cover photo of a sandy sandwich though. And it was cheap. (Almost everything I bought was 5 dollars or under except for the Girls In The Garage comps.) Plus, now I can actually tell people that I own two albums by two bands named Sand. This Sand is 70's progressive desert vista guitar rock. The other Sand was a cool instrumental groove/jazz/postrock combo from the U.K. and I really dig their Still Born Living album that came out on a Souljazz subsidiary. Kinda like a more organic, acoustic, freeform version of Red Snapper. With no vocals. And they wore masks a la Slipknot. The 70's Sand album does come with two one-sided records for no good reason that I can think of.

Misunderstood - The Lost Acetates 1965-1966 (UT Records) Essential stuff. Hell, maybe THIS should make my pazz & jop top ten. (I still haven't filled my ballot out on-line. I keep changing my mind.) One of the truly great forgotten rock bands. I read the entire mammoth Part 4 of the Misunderstood story in the new Ugly Things magazine by Mike Stax (he put this record out. That's what the UT stands for.) on the plane out west. It's an epic tale. And Mike has taken hundreds of pages to tell it. Who else would? God bless him. Anyway, buy this.

Ides Of March - World Woven (RCA) Ugh. I'd seen their records around for ever and I finally had to go and do it. Bad move. On the other hand, I haven't even made it to side two. Maybe that is where the genius lies. Or maybe I just have to switch my brand of hootch.

Acceleration - Middle Of The Road (RCA) From the label that brought you the Ides Of March comes some shrill eurobubble pop designed to curl toes and decay yer teeth. What do you do for an encore after the timeless elegance of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep and Tweedle Dee, Tweedle dum? This album tells the tale.

Ali Akbar Khan & L. Subramaniam - India's Master Musicians
Hariprasad Chaurasia - Flute Concert
Shivkumar Sharma - Shivkumar Plays Santoor (Bainbridge) All sealed raga action in Bainbridge's Ravi Shankar Music Circle series. Cheap-ass vinyl doesn't mar the loveliness contained within. Transcendent and all that good stuff. I'm a big fan of the santoor. I'll bet you didn't know that.

Shawn Phillips - Contribution
Shawn Phillips - Second Contribution (Both A&M) You know, you can still pick up these records for peanuts and you should. They are groovy like in the movies and Shawn will no doubt have his Mojo resurrection day in the sun if he hasn't already. (I should really subscribe. I'm probably missing all kinds of resurrections.) His loner-folkie midnight vibe tunes are way stonger than the up-tempo topical stuff, but the up-tempo stuff isn't embarrassing or anything. You could make a killer cdr of the sad quiet numbers. He gets dodgier as you travel into the 70's, but even that stuff has its champions. Notice how I say that with such authority. I know about 3 people, tops, who even listen to him. And that, my friends, is how we create common knowledge.

Wild Turkey - Turkey (Chrysalis) Wild Turkey made a great hard/boogie/folk rock record called Battle Hymns. This is not that record.

And yesterday, I did what many a freak will do. I bought crap at a thrift store in the hopes of prolonging my holiday vinyl buzz. In Waltham, Mass (SP?). I had never been to Waltham. Nice town. Lots of Indian restaurants. And a costume store! And the costume store is actually called a joke shop! Someone should do a tally of joke shops in the U.S. How many left? Are there more drive-in theatres than joke shops? I would except "novelty" shop as well. Yeah, so, a bunch of crap. King Crimson - Discipline, Dreams (Brecker Bros. fusion. I can handle it okay, but do I really need it?), Eurythmics - We Too Are One (In the words of Annie herself: ""WHHHHY, WHHHYY" cuz I had forgotten how horrible this records sounds. Jimmy Iovine blows chunks.), some Micky Holliday teen gospel album that is horrible, Robyn Hitchcock - Globe Of Frogs (Which is where me and Robyn parted company if I remember correctly. Or maybe that was when I first heard "Ted, Woody, & Junior". Somewhere in the 80's anyway. But hey, no hard feelings. I still love the good stuff), and Fugazi. Fugazi! Ewwww. I actually used to have it on tape. "Waiting Room" was the only song I ever liked. It's a shame about that singer who isn't Ian. The eyebrow dude. Oh well, it was 99 cents. So sue me. I was jonesing! And oh yeah, a bizzaro comp of 20's music called Rare Records Revisited on Happy Tiger records with Slim Gaillard's "Yep Roc Heresei" on it. But get this, here is what it says in the fine-print: "Some of the selections in the album have been re-recorded by the original artist in stereo..." !!??? I haven't listened yet. I'm kinda hoping they got a hold of Rudy Vallee via Ouija board and he megaphoned new vocals down from crooner's heaven. It's possible Pinky Tomlin or Sir Lancelot were still around when the record came out. Maybe Pinky welcomed the idea of getting a perfect stereo take of his immortal "The Love Bug Will Bite You (If You Don't Watch Out) on record. I know I would have.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The People's Republic Of Eugene

Maria and Rufus and I are heading out today for Boston and then eventually Oregon for the holidays. We won't be back home till the 30th. I don't know what my computer situation will be like (We aren't bringing a laptop with us. We have enough crap to lug around.), but I'll post if I can and if I have anything brilliant to say. I hate travelling. I always have. I don't know why. The idea and act of travelling fills me with sadness. Go figure! I'm usually okay once I'm at where I'm supposed to be at. Anyway, I've got the new issue of Ugly Things to tide me over on the plane. Have a great Christmas if that's your thing. Don't let your family drive you mad. If it isn't your thing, well, then you have it made. Go to the movies and eat Chinese. Sounds like a wonderful dream. I'm looking forward to blogging it in the new year. Fill this page up and then some. Watch this space.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

For Those Who Always Wished That Someone Would Review Sampler CDs That Came With Portugese Metal Magazines - We Salute You

Ancient Ceremonies Compilation Vol.8 (

Feel free to make up your own song-titles. I can't find my copy of the magazine that may or may not actually include them. The CD itself sports a lovely black & white photo of the lead singer for Amon Amarth. Amon Amarth are not, however, on the comp. Is it wrong to judge a band's worth on the basis of one song? Not if you have any idea how many metal bands there are in the world.

*Arkhon Infaustus* Great woof/meow bulldog/cat-with-tail-pulled vocal tag team. The drummer has issues and he's run out of tissues. What is the impulse that tells a person: Approach the drum-kit with caution and then beat it to death! Fast faster fastest death riffs covered in peanut butter and sandpaper. A thick, viscous texture not altogether unpleasant to the palate.

*Obscurant* As much as they would love to spread Obscurantism around the globe and have their tainted demon cake and eat it too by leavening their spice bread with jellied fruits and mincemeat - in other words, adding a pinch of cheesy black metal synth-choir backwash to their hateful deathdance - I ain't biting. Their tough stuff isn't tough enough and the mood music sounds like an afterthought. Or maybe they just suck at it.

*Ondskapt* One of my fave vocal intros of all-time is the demonic bellyache. "ooooooh, uuuuhh, errrrr, I can't believe I desecrated the whole thing." Like it's a chore to put down the severed virgin head, trudge out of your underground kingdom and approach the microphone. It's the warm-up sound of a sated yet constipated satanic imp who needs a few minutes before he can get around to telling you what went down last night. It's endearing. Ondsapt's singer has three great voices: Demonic Bellyache, Demonic Pirate, and Demonic Opera Singer! The music is suitably woozy. Kinda like the wedding band on a haunted ghost ship. Every once in a while the drummer wakes up and starts hitting everything around him and then he nods off again. This half funeral/ half military march tempo adds to the seasick quality of Ondskapt's evil Dramamine-metal.

*Finntroll* Finntroll are a fave novelty act for non-metal fans cuz they combine quite lovely Finnish folk and traditional dance music with their own demon troll metal. As novelties go, it's a pretty good one! And they are good at it too. The track on this comp is just straight-up trad folk and as lovely as the rennaissance fair on a warm spring day. I would buy an all-acoustic album by them anyday. Heck, my favorite Wedding Present album is that 10-inch they put out of (Ukranian?) old world hootenanny sounds. And there are a zillion dark/pagan folk albums out now embraced and released by the metal community. Some seriously creepy black forest stuff inspired by Laibach, Test Department, Swans, Current 93, elves, wood sprites, pseudo-fascist nationalism and tree-envy as well.

*Nomenmortis* Much gnashing of teeth. I blame bad clams casino on the haunted ghost ship. This song is so fast it's no longer moving.

*Funeris Nocturnum* This guy sounds French. Or Belgian. Or Swiss! If I were French or Belgian or Swiss, I would start my own micro-genre called Traditional Artisan Metal. Songs all about the noble cheesemakers of the past. Odes to creating the perfect lambic. Monks. Wild yeast. The harvest. The vines. The wheat. It's a thought.

*Leviathan* Has anyone ever started a band with someone playing JUST double bass drums? No drumsticks, other drums or any other percussion? Just another idea to throw out there. These guys put a nice moldy surface of fuzz on their guitars, but they need a better producer to bring out the best mold that they have in them.

*Battlelore* Really keen bubblegum europop fantasy battle metal!! Light as a feather. Perfectly-produced bite and crunch on the guitars. Clumsy eurodude trying not very hard to sound mean and euroelf femme vocals selling the package easily to me and the island of Japan. MUST find their albums.

*Spawn Of Possession* Blink or you'll miss it BARF!-SPLAT!-UGGH! grindage. Ho-hum.

*Thesyre* This sounds like a basement demo, but what do I know, maybe Thesyre are huge in Luxembourg or Peru. The singer's english ain't pretty (which translates as: not scary, goofy.) They need bigger and badder riffs, a new name, a new drummer, and, um, I think that's it.

*Novembers Doom* A stately, downtrodden plod. This cookie monster is very, very sad. He makes most emo-punk singers sound like models of self-assurance. Although, it is fun to picture the actual cookie monster singing: "If only my mother knew the real meeeeeee" in a tone of utter defeat.

*Misericordia* Wet cardboard drum-slap, a million miles an hour, a million bands making the exact same racket. Are they fulfilled? Are they happy playing this stuff? If they are, then maybe that's all that matters.

*Funeral* This time the drums are in the boiler room. Under water. Covered in dirty laundry. And, uh oh, your aunt helen has been nipping at the sherry again. She's going through her Gibert & Sullivan songbook in the kitchen. Meanewhile, in the attic, your younger brother has almost perfected that one riff from Ride The Lightning that has been vexing him for weeks.

*Deject* If it is their intention to make their sound "murky" because "murky" somehow equals "diabolical", Then I find it hard to believe that there isn't a better way to go about it. When every 10 year old kid has software capable of recreating the Ring Cycle in the time it takes to jerk off to Jessica Alba VMA Awards red carpet candid press photo thumbnails, there is no possible explanation why even the most cash-strapped metal band couldn't make a demo that at least approximated recorded sound in the 21st century. Don't get me wrong. Lo-fi black metal recorded on a boombox can sound amazing. And the same can be said for the lowliest two-track or four-track recording. I understand the whole aunthenticity thing. (Even if I personally feel that Satan believes that high-end production values are the way to go when it comes to winning hearts and minds.) But the options out there are so varied that nobody at this late date should have a problem making shitty-sounding music that sounds cool.

*Sotajumala* "Sotajumala" is Finnish slang for "your moms is so fat she comes from both sides of the family".

*Zeenon* "How about Xenon?" "No." "Hmmm, Zeinon?" "No." "Um, Ziinon?" "Uh Uh." "Xeenon?" "Well, no." "*Sigh*Zeenon?" "That's it!!" I kid Zeenon, but they make some three dollar homegrown shit that has pep! It sounds really really cool. Everything all downtuned and compressed to within an inch of its life. It's perfect. Nice, snarly bass break. Raging and atypical female (I think?) vocals. No wasted motion. Just groovy, minimal, pocket-monster metal.

*Exektator* Nice black metal guitar furor at the start. It's a shame about Broomhilda. She needs a lozenge.

*Phantasma* I still haven't determined whether the sound of multi-tracked hobgoblins at the start of a song spells defeat or victory. It might just be a case by case kinda thing. Phantasma's little number here has a nice spring in its step. I don't know what the hell they're screaming about, but they won't put you to sleep. There is something to be said for that.

*Babylon Mystery Orchestra* This is kinda cool if you can get behind DIY industrial metal with a singer who sounds like a cross between Ian Curtis and Fred Schneider. Is it a joke? I can't tell. Swans meets Cabaret is kinda novel. Oh wait, Softcell. And the country of Germany. Ah, never mind. Not a bad tune though. Needs the darkwave remix touch.

*Mixomatosis* "My extreme vomit and shit metal band with four second songs can beat up your extreme vomit and shit metal band with four second songs." Where's that t-shirt?

*Dehester* Anyway, everyone knows that two minute extreme treble metal songs with extra noodles is where it's at these days. Which makes Dehester the coolest band on this CD.

Friday, December 17, 2004

A Quick Mention

Non-music related dept: Today is the one-year anniversary of the book board I started on the ILX Network Of Fiends. To be found here:

ILX is on the fritz a bit these days - server-related or somesuch - anyhoo, you will find me spending too much time over there on a daily basis. Good people and all that. ILX is affiliated with the redoubtable Freaky Trigger webthing.

Da Year That Wuz

It's almost over. 2004, that is. This is the time when I start thinking about putting together a top ten list and some kreative komments for the annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll. I decided long ago that there was no way I could come up with some state of the music nation treatise or ipods-what-do-they-mean? handwringer every year. (I should explain a little. Every year, the Voice encourages voters in the Pazz & Jop to send in an essay or some random comments about the year past.) I'm way too out of the loop to pretend that I have a clue as to what is going on with poprock culture. I always figure it's just more of the same, only louder. So now, I just come up with some one-liners about various targets ubiquitous enough that even I couldn't ignore them during the year. It's more fun that way. Plus, it makes it look like I care a little. Sometimes when I'm slow handing in comments, the dean of rock & roll, Robert Christgau, sends me a form e-mail that says in effect: Look, I don't understand it either, but you have apparently amused us in the past with your Pazz & Jop essays, so get on the ball and give us some. P.S. - Don't ever e-mail me for any reason. Yerz, The Dean. Or something like that. Also, every year I crawl deeper into my vinyl cave. I rarely listen to the radio anymore, cuz all the stations sound horrible - not the music, the stuff surrounding the music - and they depress me. Constant commericials, robot deejays, the same 10 songs. Plus, the robots rarely tell me what I'm listening to. Some stations will play 5 songs in a row and never tell you what they were! I rarely watch the video channels either these days. They are way up in the 70's and 80's on my cable box. I forget they are there. I only try to remember that HBO is channel 201 and that's hard enough for me cuz I'm slow. I get those digital music channels on the teevee, but they are in the 400's! They might as well be on Mars. Or on a regular radio that I never listen to. God help me, I listen to NPR mostly. It comes in the best. All of this helps to isolate me from popworld. I have to look at lists of singles just to think of stuff to vote for. I used to have scores of new pop songs indelibly etched in my brain every year. Alright, enough of this. I'm old! There, I said it. And albums? Well, that's a little easier. I can almost always come up with ten of those a year. My lists are usually pretty weird though. Things I got in the mail, mostly. I always have one album on it that everyone else voted for. But that's it for the most part. I'm not "willfully" obscure, but I ain't the general public either. I try to at least hear the "big" albums that come out. But I miss a lot. I'm usually not a big fan of the top ten every year. Wilco? No thank you. Soft Bulletin? MMM...Nope. Oh, lots of them.

This year I'm probably gonna vote for that Fiery Furnaces album. That will put me in with the in-crowd for one album at least. I really really dig it. I still have never heard their first album. I agree with whoever said that the new one should have been all one song. I coulda appreciated the perversity of that. The first one sounds more like the White Stripes or something, no? Well, it's cool that they got that out of their system. People who don't like that Fiery Furnaces record are hiding something. I don't know what, but I'm gonna investigate. I like the piano. I like her voice. I don't hate his voice. I like the long songs. I like the allovertheplaceness of it. I like the ambition behind it. You know: About his voice. Which is kinda just another indie-dude voice. I wonder if I would have listened to that album twice if he had done all the singing!! Weird, huh? But I might have gotten all chauvinistic on his ass and just decided that he was some lame brian wilson/elephant 6/genius-wannabe! I'm not saying that I definitely would have thought this, but lemme tellya, if you are gonna make an overlong indie-prog art-rock album it helps to have a cool/lovely grrrl's voice helping to sell it.

*Contenders For My Prestigious Top Ten List*
What else? Big & Rich. They are my number one with a bullet. And I'm not gonna get on my high horse OR cowboy and explain in depth why it moves me so. It just does. It's an undeniable record once you've heard it. Whether you love OR hate it. I played it for someone once and they actually found it OFFENSIVE!!! No, really. They were offended. All I know is that it is the only album that gave me chills all year. Actual honest-to-god chills! That's all I need to know.
Peccatum's Lost In Reverie might make my list. I liked it as much as anything else I heard. Ambient/dark/electronic/metal. Lovely stuff.
Das Oath's self-titled album on Dim Mak might make it. I love that thing. Noise/punk/hardcore crazy stuff. Way better than Stankonia.
Maybe the last Beta Band record. I really liked it, but it might not actually be memorable enough to make my list.
That Numbers Band reissue *Jimmy Bell's Still In Town* I played the hell out of that thing. I don't really know why it impresses me so much. Jazz/rock/hipster R&B poetry ain't usually my thing. I kept pulling it out and putting it on again. It's hypnotic or something.
David Thomas & Two Pale Boys - 18 Monkeys On A Dead Man's Chest. This was a GREAT album. AndI know for a fact that almost nobody heard it.How do I know that? I just do. Have you heard it? Exactly. I'm gonna have to review that one on here soon.
Isis - Panopticon This is a big maybe. Same with the new Neurosis. I dig them both a lot, but Neurosis have done better and I will have to listen to the Isis a bunch more to remember how good it is. Which isn't a good sign. I should just remember how good it is. I know it sounded great when I got it, but I didn't play it ALL that much. We shall see.
The Homosexuals Boxed-Set - Astral Glamour. This is a definite. I don't have a problem voting for reissues. It was new to me!
Notekillers comp on Ecstatic Peace. This is more of a long-shot, but I love the thing. great nowave/punk/guitar a la sonic youth and all those other downtown heroes, but this stuff predates a lot of SY & their ilk. Not that that's why it's good, cuz it was first. It's good all on it's own. Loud, jazzy, rock instrumentals that excite you in all the right areas. Or me anyway.
The Gris Gris album on Birdman. Another maybe, but I play it a lot and it is one of the few great 60's/garage inflected albums I heard this year that doesn't get swamped by the history of it all. The dude takes Seeds/13th Floor Elevator and makes something new out of it. The songs are really strong. Maybe that's it. None of it makes me want to dig out an old Rokey album. That's my biggest compliment. Hives make me wanna hear the Remains, Jack White makes me wanna hear the Pixies or The Gun Club, and all those back-from-the-cave-with-more-rubble-for-your-grave bands just make me want to listen to Too Short or something.
Tarentel - We Move Through Weather Instrumental dope-nod beauty with a hella-cool drummer and lots of space to fill that they actually fill. Improv stuff too. Spare me the live show. Send any bootlegs ya got. My couch is comfy.
I know I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff, but these are some of my definites, some maybes, and some maybe-nots. Oh, and Bonk! I forgot Bonk! NOBODY heard that Bonk album. I think they made one copy and sent it to me. It's great though. Norwegian punk/classic rock/whatever on Racing Junior records. *Northern Soul* is the title. If Junior Senior mated with The Darkness? Nah, I'll think of something better than that. Maybe you can download it somewhere for free if you don't believe me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Doing Double Doody

I'm double blogging it today. I just posted a top ten whatzit on the Freelance Mentalists blog. That took most of my day, what with watching the kid all morning and afternoon and going to see high school hockey later on with Maria. I started the mentalists blog with a fellow rock-crit Matt Cibula and it has some cool stuff on it. Besides Matt, Anthony Miccio and Don Allred contribute a bunch (We all have the Village Voice in common and we all hang out on the ILM message board.). And there are a bunch of Matt's friends on there as well. The more the merrier. I haven't posted anything in a while. I've been writing on my own lately for what I hope will someday be a book. We shall see. It seems like such an endless process. One day at a time, right? Here is the Mentalist address: I'll be back here tomorrow hopefully.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Ooh La La

You would think that I'd be happy that someone as astute as Sasha Frere-Jones was writing about pop music for the New Yorker, right? Beats another "hot jazz" reappraisal by Whitey McHerringbone, right? Yeah sure, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous when I caught a glimpse of Sasha's piece on French Dutch Israeli chantootsie Keren Ann in between the Erdrich and Chast this week. He just HAS to mention that Keren Ann "shows" him her sixth-floor flat in "Montmartre" after an EMI "listening" party in Paris (!!). Sheesh, the nerve of the guy. Rub it in why dontcha. On the other hand, with one sentence he made me forget everything that Adam Gopnik has ever written. (And Sasha is, if not the bomb, bombish in the extreme. I do have one confession to make: I think I was the only person who wasn't impressed by his Led Zep How The West Was Won review in the Voice. It reminded me of something I might have written. Which kinda freaked me out cuz Sasha is so much better than that! hahaha!! It's true. Ah well, I guess I just didn't find it that funny. Funny is peculiar. Everyone has very specific ideas about it. But Sasha doesn't go for the funny in the New Yorker's pages.)
So, okay, I'm a little jealous. But only cuz I have a little thing for Keren Ann and her Not Going Anywhere album. So does my beloved Maria! And our little toddler Rufus! (I used to trick myself into thinking that I was only playing the Keren Ann album to help get Rufus to sleep. But I wasn't fooling anyone. Keren Ann had me in her wistful, world-weary clutches. I felt duped for a while. Who was this girly-voiced warbler? Wasn't I supposed to be able to see through these Norah-come-latelys and their coffee-bar soft soap piffle? Yuppie comfort food, right? Like a 12 dollar side of garlic mashed potatoes at that overpriced corner bistro. "Lifestyle" music for those chardonnay-slurping Kerry apologists and their oversensitive overscheduled offspring. Right? Well, this inner defense that I mounted for myself - I was no New French Underwear patsy! - lasted about two spins. Then I melted like extra-fat butter on top of butter and shallot-infused kobe beef.)
Keren's songs are two darned catchy. The voice-too-close-to-the-microphone production style doesn't make the sound of the thing cloying, claustrophobic, and overheated, which by all rights it should, but truly intimate, inviting, and warm. The little girlyness is never TOO little girly. More along the lines of a Blossom Dearie, Chi (Pronounced "Shy") Coltrane, Kim Deal and her sister singing about sisters on This Mortal Coil records kinda girlyness. A grown-up girlyness. But not too stagey or mannered a girlyness. It's a girlyness that fits a woman who is possibly a bit girly. Or one who has been listening to lots of bossa nova records or perhaps any one of a 1000 french female pop stars from the 60's. THAT kinda girlyness. Which is not gonna be everyone's cup of chai (pronounced "Chy"). I played it for my parents thinking I would get a nice little "oh, isn't that nice, what a lovely zzzzzzz.........." Yes, I was hoping they might fall asleep and stop harrassing me, but instead they actually rolled their eyes a little. A tad too cutesy for the 50's jazz and pop fans. No Patience & Prudence records in their closets, i suppose. Okay, scratch the Patience & Prudence reference. I wouldn't want to give anyone the wrong idea about Keren Ann. Besides, NOTHING sounds like Patience & Prudence outside of Michael Jackson's and Henry Darger's dreams.
I do love the way Not Going Anywhere sounds. It does digital up right. And it IS "warm". Clear, crisp, and just breathy enough to make you swoon. Everything that stillborn Beck album wasn't. I should say that Keren Ann does Nick Drake up right. Sasha says he "reached for it over and over, as if it were a glass of water." And I get where he's coming from. Cuz it is thirst-quenching. But he didn't go far enough. Plain old water doesn't do Keren Ann justice! It would have to be one of those cool swirly euro bottles of water you were reaching for. The ones with all the bubbles that come from ancient underwater streams and that fizz and tickle your nose. Jeez, I guess Keren Ann is making my top ten this year! What a weird year. Big & Rich and Keren Ann? Ambiguously gay cowboys and an adorable cheese eating surrender monkey? Are they really my top two of 2004? Eh, why not? I've heard worse.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Archival Geek Attack

I'm struggling to write about The Ravens this morning. "The Greatest Group Of Them All"! Maybe. Maybe not. But jeez louise, take a listen to their version of "Deep Purple" sometime if you have never heard it or it has been a while. That's some heavy stuff. They really did contain multitudes. Maybe that's why I'm struggling. I also want to post something about that LCD Soundsystem album soon. That album was designed for maximum rockcrit babble/rant/conjecture. People should have fun with it.
Soooooo, I'm reading the Sunday New York Times and there is yet another Devendra Banheart & posse article. They've given Devendra and his pals a lot of ink! They must really like him! He's a likeable fella. I'm kinda hoping that Devendra & Vincent Gallo get together to play brothers in an x-rated version of Will Ferrell's Elf. Devendra can sit in the corner crooning and playing his guitar while big brother Vincent humiliates small children and their mothers during the holiday season. In Reno. In the back of a Cadillac. Or something. For some reason, I see those two having some sort of yin/yang relationship with the same creative impulse. And every day and in every way I hear more fine nasal whine coming from undieamerica. From Animal Collective to Frog Eyes to Anticon and beyond. ( i really did like that Passage album that came out this year.) Which is why I want to re-post this uncut version of my Rapider Than Horsepower piece that I wrote for the Village Voice. I posted it once on the I Love Music board so I must be fond of it. It's substantially longer than the piece that finally ran in the Voice. They had changed their format (shorter pieces, more of them) by the time it was ready to run. Devendra's voice is a trickier instrument than most elf-powered outfits. He doesn't fit and he does fit into the faux-loon tradition. But I'll leave him for another time. So:

Ear, Nose & Throat

Rapider Than Horsepower "Stage fright, Stage fright"
by Scott Seward

Wackiness and weariness often walk hand in hand where rock and roll
singers are concerned. A listener's own personal threshold for whims,
quirks, kinks, and vocal contortions, and their willingness to follow an
"inspired" performer from point abba to point zabba, is
subjective enough as to make one man's pork soda delish in every way, and
another man's frog brigade merely soggy to the touch.
So if you're down with Primus & Zappa, but find Bungle &
Beefheart anathema, and "novelty" and "joke"
(mainstream terminology) and "arty" and "visionary"
(underground terminology) are either pejoratives or superlatives
--depending on your aural intake valves and your own view on the whole
empty/half full life question thing-- thrown at any disparate
baggypants crooners whose nasalities and tonsorial gymnastics range on
the taste scale from acceptable to acquired, then it's safe to say that
your invisible lines are drawn, your gradations calculated and where you
stand (or sit) depends largely on answers to questions fine-tuned and
measurable only by doctors of musicology trained in Rorschach and voice.

To wit: Are you now or have you ever been a Rush fan? Does
the sound of Billy Corgan, arguably the most successful novelty singer
since Tiny Tim, make you wince or cringe? (For me both. And not just
because he reminds me of that little kid from childhood who wants to go
down to the basement and show you his weewee when all you really want is
to look at his big brother's stellar collection of Creepy magazines
thereby inciting a riot of mental expletives in your head along the lines
of: "He's such a jerk. Why did we have to move here? I hate Mom and
Dad!" But also because he reminds me of that same kid years later
pretending to like the same bands that you like even though you know that
he could never understand the greatness of a Wire Train or an Aztec
Camera.) On a scale of 1 to 10, whose effluviant proboscisity is most
comforting to you (ten being a dangerous level of adenoidal immersion)?
Joe Walsh. Leon Redbone. Jad Fair. Jimmy Dale Gilmore (who is known in
Austin, Texas as "Ol' Lonesome Nostrils"). That dude from Sunny
Day Real Estate. Needless to say, a full battery of tests in a clinical
setting could easily determine your nose to ear compatibility quotient as
well as your tolerance for various keens, yips, mewls, grunts and
whimpers. You might be surprised by the differences found in the
predilections of your average Victoria Williams fan, Kristin Hersh fan,
Shakira fan and Buffy St. Marie fan.
Of course, there is a scale and then there is beyond the pale. Your Ubu
difficulty ratings in the
percentile or higher. The yo-yo snorts and warbles of Beefheart borne
from the unholy croakus behemoth known as Howlin' Wolf as well as the
glory glory glottalujah upheavals and "I'll be damned if I didn't go
and get a bullfrog stuck in my throat and now it's dead and I've been
trying to cough it up for years now to no avail" glossolalia of
Bobby "Blue" Bland. The burbling, bubbling
insanity-is-just-around-the-bend laughing boy creepiness of Napolean XIV.
He of the one-hit wondrousness and who inspired legions. From Dr.
Demento's radio persona and reason for being to that goofball who used to
be in Mercury Rev before that band discovered the cure for insomnia. The
art-dunked pro-weirdo sounds of people like ex-Homosexual, Brit D.I.Y.
legend, ebay gold standard and Johan Kugelberg-touted L. Voag. Whose
early 80's The Way Out solo elpee is riddled with mysterious guitar
tunings and off-key high-pitch yelps. His sound would unwittingly become
the template --along with that of Ohio-bred dub house legends and
precursors to everything, Pere Ubu, not to mention the archival late
70's/early 80's work of buckeye gods Ron House & Mike Rep, and
come to think of it Ohio-lamenting Canuck and man of a thousand whines
Neil Young-- for a large portion of modern indie stuff too weird or
geeky to be called punk. Hah! Imagine being too geeky to be called punk.
That's really, really geeky.
Which is why I dig stuff like the new Rapider Than Horsepower album. Cuz
they iz freeky and they are through being cool. Cuz I'm sick of people
who still wanna be Iggy's dog. (Ironic cuz Iggy is the biggest geek of
them all. But then so is Lou.) My quirk standard is easy to suss: I like
people who used to KNOW Zappa and the people who Mike Patton thinks are
cool. And I like Geddy Lee but not Primus. It's that simple.
Rapider's music is as far from the curdled musings of abstemious
longhairs obsessed with titty jokes as you would like them to be. But
then that particular brand of Uncle Miltie-in-drag pursed lip meanness
probably went to the grave with Zappa anyway. At least as far as most
music is concerned. The "everyone is icky, stupid and foul"
aesthetic is unfortunately an American tradition that goes back to Cotton
Mather and gets picked up from time to time by people like Todd Solondz
and Neil LaBute. But the more open-ended Beefheart microverse is where
the out-there kids aspire to live. Right next to Uncle Sonny on Saturn.
Bizarre beats straight every time.
The wank/prog shifts in tone and time in Rapider's songs are melded with
the betterer and newerer leaps in whimsy innovation brought to you by
folks as close or as far away from each other philosophically as you
would care to argue: Modest Mouse, Devendra Banhart, or maybe even a
faint whiff of the twee-no/lo-ramshackle-fi of sea salt-seasoned
siltbreeze loons from the 90's like the Shadow Ring or Alastair
Galbraith. Impeccably timed hoots and group hollers, even a
cheerleader-style shout-out that spells the band's name and which grows
more and more desultory with every passing letter. Shaggy enthusiasm and
twisty guitar lines: the Meat Puppets and Fraggle Rock converge on the
same hallowed ground. And that voice that shakes and breaks and cracks. A
voice that is my idea of idiot fun but that might just be a dealbreaker
for those enamored with a lower register or attempts at sobriety. Or for
those people who insist that they were terrified of circus clowns as
children and who prefer the cackle/croon/growl/spit takes of a Mr.
There are moments on Stage fright, Stage fright, where they seem to
bottle the poetic essence of ex-Zappa pal Wildman Fischer. He had that
inimitable way of taking a line like "Jimmy Durante is coming to
town" from his tune "Jimmy Durante" and giving the word
"is" an extra push up the cliff until it gasped for breath at
the summit of deranged inflection. I might be so bold as to say that
Rapider Than Horsepower ARE the "is" from "Jimmy
Durante". Others might disagree and say that surely they are the
babies from the line "Screaming babies" in Eve Libertine's
deathless reading of "Shaved Women" by Crass. It's possible
that they are both these things.
Rapider Than Horsepower are Sal, Mike Dixon, Mike Anderson and Rob Smith.
I don't know where they are from or who they are. They should move to
Ohio if they don't live there already. Their song about caterpillars goes
"POP! Tttttt POP! Tttttt POP!" Their song about babies is
called "Rock Against Mapquest." In another song called,
"Lick Me on the Face, It Feels Funny" there is a great line
about C.L. Smooth & L.L. Cool J. Stage fright, Stage fright is less
than 25 minutes long and is part one of a projected 2-part series. They
amble and stumble and make a racket. They aren't that funky but they make
really silly songs and sounds with their mouths. They could do a killer
cover of "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa" if they
wanted to.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Scott's Baltimore Basement Prog Find Of The Holiday Season

This was a nice find at the end of november. Someday, i will have to do an actual review of the boxed-set. It deserves one. And my comments on Heavy The World's music is beyond vague in what I wrote below. I think my jaw was still hitting the floor after listening to it all. It was too much to take in. Here is what I wrote on the I Love Music message board the day of my discovery. My juices and hyperbole were flowing. I'm like a little kid I tellya. Anyway:

I had a feeling about the thrift store today. My spidey-sense was tingling. Or whatever that feeling is that overgrown, slightly soiled scrubheadz like me get when we know there is vinyl with our name on it out there for the taking. I slipped in to the store quietly and bolted for the records. Same old, same old. Swedish Kim Wilde singles, Shalamar, Carly Simon, Heifetz up the butt, etc, etc. And there it was. Rapped in a red bow and rubberbands and a red tag that said: All For $5. I didn't even look at the records. I grabbed it, paid my moolah, and Maria was already in the truck and ready to make our getaway. What did I get?

Heavy The World's 1991 L.P. "The Next World" on their own Imaginary Pirate label. (the cover is fab. Heavy The World playing in a cathedral of stalactites in the grand canyon and Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz is holding one of their records and there is a crowd on the moon and...all of it made out of pictures cut out of magazines. It was sealed too, but I had to open it. Still haven't heard the whole thing, but it's pretty hardrockin'. They made this one after the move to Hollywood to hit it big.

A test pressing of Heavy The World's album "Thick" which is almost the end of the line for the band. They go for the metal gold on this album with songs like "Rock 'Em Child", "F#@$ Off", and "Speed Metal Opus". The band would make one more album and end up getting ripped off by Ross Robinson before calling it quits.

Brad Knox's (Heavy The World's leader. A.K.A. Trash 1) solo release from 1995, Psychoincandescent Souvenir. All bedroom weirdness from various years that must be heard by all. #202/1015 and signed by Brad "Trash 1" Knox. "The Andromeda Stain", "Orange Popcorn", and "Where Have All The Disco Faggies Gone?" just some of the highlights.

AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST, Heavy The World's Unforgotten Worlds. A massive 6 CD BOX SET!!!! of unreleased rehearsals and live tapes. Culled from over 500(!!!) hours of tapes, here is, um, the best Heavy The World rarities from 1981 to 2001. Yes, 2001, because some of the members still get together and jam in Baltimore when their schedules permit. Each cd comes with a video that you can watch on your computer. I haven't tried yet. I can't wait much longer. They made 3 albums in Baltimore in the 80's that I would love to hear. NONE of the stuff from ANY of their albums is on this massive box-set (!!??) Their first album, Runes, was a 3 record set (!) that they made, like, 200 copies of. The boxset comes with a thick-ass book that tells the tale of the band in excruciating detail (Like the time that Doc almost got busted for slashing the tires on 93 cars in Towson, BUT Brad's I Ching journal CLEARLY VERIFIED that Doc had been present at an all-nite Heavy The World rehearsal session that lasted all night!). It also comes with a cool replica gig poster from a 1989 show at the Odd Fellows Hall in Pikesville. It also comes with a cool booklet of reviews and gig flyers. AND it comes with a book entitled WORLD BASE written by Brad Knox that is a meticulously annotated guide to Heavy The World set lists and which contains definitive information on every known Heavy The World live concert and studio session EVER!!! Here's a choice entry:

12/22/87 Rehearsal, Burn's House, Baltimore, MD
Guitar solo
(Members of H.T.W. present but only Mike Harris played at this brief session held at the house of Richard Burns.

For the record: Most frequently played cover was "Tarkus".

Oh god, it's almost too much to take in all at once. So many poorly recorded nights at Chester's Place and Dewees Park. That first rehearsal at Mike's house in 1981. They played for 2 hours. You know what they called what they had taped when they were done? "The First Two Hours". Unfortunately we only get 16 minutes of it on the box set. I love the 80's stuff. The wobbly cover of the "Crystal Ship". All those noodle jams. And they got really good by the 90's. They weren't kids anymore. But by the time they hit Hollywood they had lost a little of that Baltimore basement spirit that makes them legends.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Saved From The Chopping Block

Top 7 Albums I Will Not Be Taking To The Dump

And when I say the dump, I mean the store at the dump. Which isn't really a store since everything is free. It's called the Dumptique. I rarely find anything good there though. A book occasionally.

1) Ray, Goodman & Brown - Stay (Just a lovely album from the former Moments. Sure it's retro soul (Jersey Soul! Where is THAT SoulJazz comp? I shouldn't say that. They've probably put out 3 by now. Can I just call it Philly Soul anyway? Someone might get mad. They do remind me of my beloved Delfonics.) from 1981, but the songs are great and so are the trio's voices on this one. I obviously hadn't listened to it in years or it never would have made the maybe pile.)

2) Parchment - Shamblejam (From 1975 and on the Word Records English subsidiary Myrrh. What can I say, the Brits make better jesus freaks. A couple of years earlier it would have been on Harvest and would probably cost you a hundred bucks on ebay right about now. Okay, maybe it's not that good, but it's pretty damned good mid-70's holy roller folk rock. Parchment's hippie garb clashes with the wallpaper on the cover in a strangely hypnotic way too.)

3) Eddie Jobson - Theme Of Secrets (I really really don't need this. But I'm keeping it anyway. Part of me feels like I need a definitive synclavier reference disc and this does the trick and then some. Plus, it was produced by Tangerine Dreamer Peter Baumann and he will not be denied. It is soooooooo of it's time (1985) as well. Heck, Private Music records from the 80's should all be put into some sort of time capsule. Or maybe they already are in one. Until you play one. And how often is that?)

4) Grin - Gone Crazy (Me personally, I wish they had gone a little crazier. But this record isn't as bad as I remembered. I am not a Nils Lofgren completist. let's get that out of the way right now.I will play it again someday. I promise. It mostly makes me want to dig out some Free records though. Or heck, some Nazareth. Really any other band that plays this kind of 70's hard rock with occasional pretty acoustic interludes that has an actual singer.)

5) Fargo - I See It Now (This is a record from 1969 on RCA that may or may not get reissued by Get Back or Sundazed in the near future, depending on how long it takes them to scrape their barrels clean. It might take a while. But it's pretty good. Folky, Beatlesesque, ya know, sensitive. Not too psych, which is why it might take longer. "A Castle In Wales" is right purty. I'm a sucker for the RCA studios house sound.They made utter shit sound like gold in the 60's. Not that Fargo is utter shit. Just two boys from Salt Lake City (?) trying to turn the world on with their tears.)

6) McFadden & Whitehead - I Heard It In A Love Song (I've got too much love for the TSOP to toss this one. Even 1980 TSOP. This is no classic or anything. But it's good for a spin. "Love Song Number 690 (Life's No Good Without You)" is a great song and nowhere near as tired as it's studio-weary title may suggest.)

7) Debbie Jacobs - High On Your Love ( This is a really good electrofunkydisco record! I can't remember if I had EVER played it. Great arrangements and production by Paul Sabo. Amazing sci-fi disco breakdowns. This album from 1980 was looking forward to the future in a big way. No Studio 54 love hangover here. Cool sounds. Play it at your next party.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More For The Stacks

Hit the thrift store today. Spent a grand total of four dollars. (they are good to me there. they always give me a deal.) Got some trucks for lil' Rufus, a Waltons board game, some books (Schlink, Gaitskill, Stein, Banks, DeVries, Lodge), and some vinyl:

Todd Rundgren - A Wizard/A True Star (Never owned a copy before! I don't know how that happened. I must have had the tape at one point. You need the vinyl though for the groovy gatefold and shape of the cover. "The whole package". You know? Maybe you don't. Lotsa people seem happy with their own magic marker scrawl on a cdr. And who am I to judge? Anyway, I'm not a Todd maniac or anything, but I enjoy the old stuff. Including all Nazz. I don't care what John Lennon says. Wasn't that Lennon who heckled Todd in L.A.? Eh, what did he know. Todd can be a nifty substitute for Zappa-haterz. )
Bob James - One ( I buy all CTI vinyl no matter what. Love the covers, love the Creed Taylor magic. Love the 400 people who play on every album. MOST of the 70's stuff has something to offer. Even if it's just one lone phat beat. One's cover is especially nice. You used to be able to send $1.50 to Creed and he would send you a spiffy reproduction of any CTI cover on glossy paper. I wouldn't try it now though. )
Mike Gibbs & Gary Burton - "In The Public Interest" (This was my find for the day. Never heard it before. Really dreamy, groovy stuff. Mike Brecker, Steve Swallow, a zillion others. Cinematic and minimal. Actually, I'm lying cuz I haven't listened to the second side yet. Maybe that side is crazy and busy as a bee. I dig it. Probably to spacey for the trad cats and too staid for the martian jazz lovers. I find that I'm often loving stuff that is in between those two poles.)
Michael Franks - Passion Fruit (The only people I know who love Michael Franks are me, my dad, and some hardcore hip-hop headz I have known. I think you have to be really, really cool to be down with M.K. You have to really know who you are. His sultry whisper can do things to you. Passion Fruit is an 80's hoot. A nod to video games, Miami Vice cover that he has got to wince at now, and more songs about sex, love, doing it, and the ladies. And food. And tea. Man, he rocks so hard. I'm gonna singlehandedly turn him into the next hipster totem. Watch this space. I've got a lot to say about the man.)
Tim Rock - Backseats, Bedrooms & Bars (Mellow local hippy rock from Seattle circa 1970-something. Self-released probably. I didn't really think I had some rarepsychmonster on my hands, but I can't resist those loveable beardos and their endless highway anthems.)
Gary Cronce & The Oat Bros. - Poison Oat (Same with this one. This beaming beardo with the massive glasses and corduroy suit even makes the cover. He's cute. Like a hobbit. He could be Tim Rock's older brother. Gary is also from Seattle. His label is Broken Oat. Tim's is Starbuck (!) Hmmm, could Tim be one of the coffee barons? I will investigate. It's a toss-up as to which one is oatier. They both could have used a shot of espresso.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump.

Listening to Ray Dalen's *For Mature People*. Kind of a drearier, Canadian version of Tim Hardin. Well, not really. I'm being kind. But he is dreary. Recorded by Bob & Dan Lanois (!) in their basement (!!). 1974. I've heard worse. At least his songs are short. Just Ray and his trusty 6-string. Ontario winters can be cruel. Probably. "Standing On One Leg"would have to be the highlight as it is the only song with a nearly memorable title. I'm playing it because I'm doing a december spring cleaning of excess vinyl. I'm keeping Ray around for now. Others aren't so lucky.

Here is the dump/thrift/record store pile as of today:

Garland Jeffreys - Escape Artist (I have no room for Garland. Am i mean? Hell, I don't even really have room for Springsteen if it makes you feel any better. Or Willie DeVille. Or all those other rinky-dink organ-grinding poets of the, um, streets. Saw him on SNL (?) doing 96 Tears when I was a kid and thought it was pretty cool. I'll always have that memory at least. Probably the first time I ever heard 96 Tears, so maybe that's why I was impressed. Yes, Big Youth, Lou Reed, Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Brecker Brothers, David Johanson, Nona Hendryx, Larry Fast, AND Earl "Wire" Lindo are on this record. But all I hear are Roy Bittan and Bob Clearmountain.

Jamming With Edward (But it's a sperduperjamfest with Nicky Hopkins, Ry Cooder, Bill, Mick, and Charlie! Yeah, but I don't suffer from insomnia!)

Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen - We've Got A Live One Here! (This record embarrasses me. Give me Dan Hicks anyday over this stuff. Hippies and truck drivers? Was that their audience? To me, it gives country music, old-tymey music, hippies, truck drivers, possibly the entire U.S. of A a bad name. They could play, I guess. But jeez do they ever lay that cornpone shit on thick.)

Brainwaves - Hommage a Disco (I almost considered keeping this for the cover alone. Mr. Brainwaves in mustache, top hat, tux, twinkling cane, and wine glass in hand teetering on a wooden skateboard precariously balanced atop a wooden dowel of some sort (i seem to remember these things from the 70's, but i don't know their proper name) on the steps of a brick ivy-covered building. The liner-notes are in French, it was recorded in Boston, and it's a one-man syth-disco show that would offend most elevators. You never know about these kinds of things. Coulda been brilliant, ya know?)

The Brother From Another Planet - OST ( I almost kept this too so that I could play it someday for someone and say: "Listen to this, it starts off with the actor Joe Morton RAPPING in a song called "Homeboy", and here is a Latin dance number, and here is the Lee Perry tune "Pussy-I-Cocky-I-Water", and here is an 80's dance-pop tune by Dee Dee Bridgewater, and here is a steel drum number, and here is some bad "Axel F"-style chase music, and here is a gospel choir! Isn't that a weird mix for a soundtrack?" Then I wondered: Who the fuck would want to hear all that shit? I don't even want to hear all that shit. And it's not like I have so many friends that I can afford to scare off the ones I do have. Hell, that night that I got drunk and started blasting Big & Rich might have lost me a few already. I haven't seen a couple of the people that were over that night since. Hmmmm......

Sammy Johns - S/T (Of "Chevy Van" fame. He might still be in that van. Has anyone checked?)

Grateful Dead - Warlox (Badly recorded boot of bad live dead. Need I say more?)

Barry Manilow - Greatest Hits (Reminds me of my sister. Which is nice. They were very big hits. Nobody needs them in their home. Nobody. The memory of them is enough. Even if you were feeling campy, you wouldn't need these songs in your house. Barry is beyond camp. He's not fun or funny enough to be camp. He could write a swell melody, there's no denying. )

Okay, thumbnail time. This is getting ridiculous:

Swami Satchidananda (Bad swami!)
Man or Astro-Man? - Experiment Zero (Zero fun!)
The Roots - Illadelph Halflife (Sorry, Philly! But one play in 8 years equals yer outta here! Almost saved it for the Ursula Rucker track and then I didn't.)
Beastie Boys - Alive 10-inch (Dead! Or just boring anyway. The unfunny Jam cover is just beyond throwaway.)
Carol Douglas - Midnight Love Affair (Bad disco!)
The Castilians - Best Of Tango (Bad tango!)
Johnnie Robinson - God Is My Everything (Bad gospel!)
Boz Scaggs - Middle Man ( Bad Boz! Boz is for when you can't find your Al Jarreau records. A SCENARIO THAT WILL NEVER COME TRUE IN ANYONE'S LIFETIME!!! Just imagine the elements that would have to come together for you to be in the mood for some Al Jarreau, not be able to find any and then end up settling for a Boz Scaggs record. THE MIND BOGGLES!)
Ezra Ngcukana - You Think You Know Me (I know enough, Ezra. I almost fell asleep typing out your name.)
Frank Zappa - Studio Tan (AHHHHHHHHHHH! Mommy, make the bad man stop. This is the music you make when you have a great LOVE for modern classical and the avant garde? I shudder to think what a great hatred would inspire.)
Larry Carlton - Alone/But Never Alone (Always alone, Larry. You should always be alone for making this swill. )

That't it for now. I have to hit the stacks again.

Now Playing: A record that they will have to pry from my cold dead hands: Miami Bass Wars II. Jivacious Pimpitraitors take heed: Don't even think about getting in the way of the Bass Battalion.