Jul 31, 2009

Pink Floyd. Akademiska Foreningens Stora Sal. Lund, Sweden. 03/20/1970.

0 Blurts
migraine 1

Pink Floyd is one of those bands that occupies such a huge portion of my listening history and love of music that I'm at a loss for where to even begin describing them in any coherent way. They were the very atmosphere of my teenage years. Anyway, pretty much everybody formed their opinion of them ages ago. Of course, if your only knowledge of them is from classic rock radio*, you might find that this sounds like a completely different band.

As bootlegs go, this is a great show with fantastic sound. They're still in that early middle period; just emerging from the Piper and Saucerful days, excitedly exploring who they were and what they could possibly be. The early material, though not quite as tight as the live versions on Umma Gumma, show them reaching for something more, trying to pull them apart a little and incorporate some of their newfound tension and drama. Cymbaline sounds sufficiently ethereal without them dicking around with that disembodied footsteps effect, and Saucerful always sounds better when Dave does the choral part at the end. On everything, you really get a sense of them interacting as a band; the intertwined musical call and response to the various directions, sounds and melodies each member creates. I love this period of pure musicality, before they got locked into playing sets that just required duplicating their previous concept album (not that some of those aren't worthwhile, too).

*An open rant to classic rock and oldies stations: Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick people! You have over fifty fucking years of music to pick from. Play Fearless instead of Another Brick in the Wall, or No Quarter instead of Stairway to Heaven, or any of the dozens of awesome Kinks songs that aren't Lola. And just because something was a top ten hit during the 50's or 60's doesn't mean it was rock and roll. I think I may have heard Buddy Holly once on an oldies station, but fucking Sugar Shack got played all the god damn time. There's no excuse for that.

Disc 1:

1. Astronomy Dominé
2. tuning
3. Careful with that Axe, Eugene
4. tuning
5. Cymbaline
6. tuning
7. A Saucerful of Secrets

Disc 2:

1. The Embryo
2. tuning
3. Interstellar Overdrive
4. tuning
5. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
6. tuning
7. The Amazing Pudding (Atom Heart Mother)

Lund CD 1
Lund CD 2

Jul 30, 2009

Sid Vicious. Sid Sings.

0 Blurts

Depending on your feelings towards Sid Vicious (and before you answer, ask yourself if you're thinking of Sid or Gary Oldman) this is either a priceless artifact, or a barrel-scraping cash-in by Virgin Records (this accounts for approximately one tenth of one millionth of Richard Branson's naked-model-accessorized kite-skiing budget. Punk's Not Dead!).

Sid's astoundingly off key, and the playing and sound quality are about average, but the song selection's good, and of course he does My Way, long before Gen Y punks realized how hilarious it is to do ironic covers of easy listening songs. On the whole, it's not such a bad record. Kinda fun, in fact.

Sid Sings

Wikipedia entry for this album.

Jul 29, 2009

Spoozys. Astral Astronauts.

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I'm sure there are lots of genres and traditions in Japanese music that I would never pick up on, not being a native listener. Similarly, I often get the feeling that, to non-western ears, Led Zeppelin, The B-52's, Add N to X, Duane Eddy, and Devo could all be in the same band. That band would be the Spoozys. You'd think that would suck, but it's actually glitter-coated-cotton-candy-disco-balls-in-a-laser-blender glee.


Spoozys website (in Japanese)

Jul 28, 2009

Oneida. Heads Ain't Ready.

2 Blurts

We've been lucky enough to catch Oneida on several of their tours, and they nearly always put on a show that is just as much a test of endurance as it is a rock action. Most of the shows we've seen ended with Kid Millions and Fat Bobby battling it out over who can pound the hardest/last the longest. Kid Millions may be the best drummer I've ever seen (after Janet Weiss, although they have very different styles). I don't think he ever stops playing, even between songs. In fact, seeing them live confirmed something I half suspected from their albums—the drums are their "lead" instrument. On songs like Changes in the City, the organ and guitar are primarily rhythm instruments that provide the structure for Kid's increasingly intricate and melodic drum patterns.

These two songs come from a tour single, and although I recognized the titles as belonging to the Grateful Dead (Cream Puff war and Cold Rain and Snow), I had to listen to them a couple of times before I was sure they weren't just adopting them ironically.


Oneida's official site

Oneida on myspace

Jul 24, 2009

The Caretaker Race. Hangover Square.

0 Blurts

I have a major soft spot for bands who swam in that sort-of sub-Smiths level of sound—bright, jangly guitar pop, perfect for listening to on autumn days while wrapped in a cardigan, riding over cobblestones on your vintage bicycle.

The Caretaker Race come to us via The Loft, who were also excellent, and wrote one of my favorite songs, Up the Hill and Down the Slope. The best part is the guitar solo at the end, rushing headlong down the hill; notes sharp and upright, like a plucked antenna. They very kindly incorporate the same bit into one of the songs on Hangover Square, which is altogether a much stronger album than anything they had done in their previous incarnation.

Another contender for "lost gem" status.

Hangover Square

Caretaker Race wikipedia page

Jul 23, 2009

Ariel Pink. Ariel Rosenberg's Thrash n' Burn.

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Judging by my download statistics, everyone loves Ariel Pink, or at least his Grandes Exitos album. Since I can't argue with numbers, and I'm desperate for your attention, here's one of his old, weird, underground releases. Enjoy.

Thrash n Burn CD 1
Thrash n Burn CD 2

Ariel Pink's official site

Ariel Pink on myspace

Jul 21, 2009

Gaze. Mitsumeru.

1 Blurt

I think this was the first album I brought home where my girlfriend started to accuse me of listening to "girly" music. Which, while true, isn't entirely accurate for this band. They were an all-girl group on K Records and featured indie-pop legend Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, The Softies), so it would be natural to assign them to the cuddle-core camp at first glance. In actuality, Rose hangs out in the background on drums, leaving Miko Hoffman and Megan Mallett room to eschew her usual "softy-ness" for a more sinewy, punk affected sound.

To my ears, this is just a perfect distillation of the pop music form, with witty, acerbic lyrics overtop of bouncy beats, sing-song choruses, and jangling rhythms. Miko has a distinctively conversational voice, and her matter-of-fact delivery turns many of the songs into little short-stories of relationships gone bad, confronting misogynists and homophobes, or just enthusiastically telling someone to kiss off. In fact, many of their songs sound as if they're stalking prey, and they rarely miss their target. This is whip-smart, emotionally mature music that will still make you want to bop.


Gaze on myspace

Jul 9, 2009

Grimble Grumble. Leaves Leader.

2 Blurts

The amplified buzz of insects at dusk gives way to a beautifully chiming guitar that's soon joined by its sister, plucking out an equally pristine melody, dreamily shimmering just far enough away from the first to act as its parallax. The bass and drums kick in, giving Rail Road an effortless, hazy groove that swells imperceptibly, hinting at rockers to come, before gently fading out under heavy-lidded, female vocals drifting somewhere "so far away".

Casanova sparks to life with sharply distorted guitars, their strings replaced by crackling, electrified tinsel. The woman's voice is back, but shrouded in a blue haze that's quickly overtaken by a messy swamp of feedback drenched blues riffs. It's just enough to nudge you back towards consciousness, although you may have stepped through the barrier of sleep without noticing.

The next two tracks are the album's standouts. Wish Song brings back the dual guitars from Rail Road, but starts piling on syncopated drum riffs and crashing cymbals. Layers of squealing, stratospheric guitar runs build and climb, hovering on the brink of collapse until it suddenly disappears into a quiet eddy of piano keys and rumbling tape warble. Third Song (actually track number five) repeats the trick, building slowly from an ethereal wash of keyboards while a fuzzed out guitar and the singer's voice whisper softly underneath. This alone would be enough for a gorgeous song, as it has a very Windy & Carl-ish quality, until about halfway through when the drummer unleashes a storm of cymbal crashes that the guitar stutteringly responds to before both explode into a glorious, soaring krautrock rhythm that I wish had gone on twice as long before whirring back down to a gentle, fading hum.

Intro (actually song number six) condenses everything down to a lumbering, squalling, heavy hitter with echoing drums and guitars that clear away the underbrush for the acoustic led Fall. Though they're named for the gnome from Pink Floyd's The Gnome, Grimble Grumble have a lot more in common with distortion heavy, psychedelic sludgemongers like Bardo Pond (although tighter and more tuneful). Unlike the other songs, Fall does have a bit of that 70's shag carpet and panelled basement feel to it. The strummed acoustic guitar paired against the distorted electric gives it a bit of a Led Zeppelin vibe that's slowly overtaken by a Bardo Pond-ish take on Saucer era Pink Floyd.

Like many of their songs, the album closes with a gentle, meandering, slow burn. Emma Sleeping Blues highlights their light, assured touch on the guitar as it wanders through a stoned blues melody, occasionally highlighted with swells of swirling distortion and bent steel guitar. You can drift back to sleep now.

Seriously, I can't recommend this album enough. Just download it now.


Grimble Grumble on myspace

Jul 8, 2009

Confetti. Retrospective.

0 Blurts

As Cracker once said, the world needs another folk singer like they need a hole in the head. Thankfully, Confetti weren't folk singers—although they were another in a long line of obscure, twee boy/girl bands playing sweet, spare, acoustic indie pop. You'd think that would get old, but it doesn't. Comprised of David (Mark Randall of the Fat Tulips) and Virginia Aeroplane, Confetti sounded very much like Young Marble Giants, with shades of Heavenly and the Marine Girls. This is their entire recorded output.


Jul 7, 2009

V/A. Beyond the Wildwood. A Tribute to Syd Barrett.

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I picked up a vinyl copy of this many, many years ago in my favorite record store of all-time, East Lansing, Michigan's Flat, Black and Circular.

Tribute albums are nearly always a dicey prospect. You usually get one ringer and a lot of covers by bands no one has ever heard of, with names like Jerry Jimanski's Knockout Socks, or Frud. This one, though, actually works as a pretty great album, as well as a neat collection of pre-grunge, neo-psychedelic/C-86 styled alternative bands. Of course, it helps that Syd wrote some fantastic songs, and the distance from his bare bones (solo) psychedelica to late 80's indie rock isn't that far.

The Mock Turtles turn in the best of the set, with their ripping, trippy version of No Good Trying. Fit and Limo, who I know nothing about, give Long Cold Look a kind of Stone Roses-esque treatment. Opal even turn up with an otherwise unreleased song that never found its way onto their odds and sods collections.

1. The Mock Turtles - No Good Trying
2. Plasticland - Octopus
3. SS-20 - Arnold Layne
4. Paul Roland - Matilda Mother
5. Fit and Limo - Long Cold Look
6. The Shaman - Long Gone
7. Opal - If the Sun Don't Shine (Adaptation of Jugband Blues)
8. The Ashes in the Morning - Baby Lemonade
9. The Lobster Quadrille - Wolfpack
10. The Paint Set - Golden Hair
11. Tropicana Fishtank - No Man's Land
12. Television Personalities - Apples and Oranges
13. The Soup Dragons - Two of a Kind
14. The Green Telescope - Scream Thy Last Scream


Jul 3, 2009

V/A. I Might Walk Home Alone.

0 Blurts

1. Shine! - Bite The Apple
2. The Bardots - Summerhouse
3. The Replicas - Culture Shock
4. Blair 1523 - Take Me There
5. Catherine Wheel - She Is My Friend
6. The Suncharms - Sparkle
7. Red Hour - Treat
8. The Suncharms - Wash Away
9. Cherry Forever - Spook
10. Basinger - Looking At Him
11. The Pushkins - Sea Egg
12. The Badgers - Cycleface
13. The Replicas - You Can Red
14. Storm House - Inside
15. The Hobbyards - Red Candle

I Might

V/A. Are You Ready?

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1. The Driscolls - PC Roberts
2. The Haywains - I Wouldn't Want That
3. The Liberty Caps - Jenny T
4. The Wilderness Children - Happy Birthday
5. Pale Saints - Colours And Shapes
6. The Next Step - I Was A Rich Man's Plaything
7. Andy Green - Oh! Doctor?
8. The McTells - Everything Heaven Sent You
9. Dandelion Adventure - Speed Trials
10. Howl In The Typewriter - Touch
11. Strawberry Story - Well What Do You Think Of That Then?
12. The Lowthers - Whoose Afraid
13. The Pilgrims - Waiting (For Yesterday)
14. Poisoned By Alcohol - No Dreams
15. Big Red Bus - Blind Selfish Faith
16. The Ferocious Apaches - Golden
17. G.T. Clean - Soapbox
18. Mousefolk - I Don't Love You Anymore
19. The Lungs - Oleoleo
20. The Mayfields - I Don't Think So

Are You Ready part 1
Are You Ready part 2

Jul 2, 2009

V/A. Calling at Duke Street.

0 Blurts

1. Rolf and Cindy Band - Slow Crawl
2. The Orchids - Avignon
3. Lorelei - Burro
4. Red Letter Day - Aeolian Harp (Vinyl Version)
5. Eva Luna - From Here to Who Knows Where
6. Beatnik Filmstars - You Can't Fake Sadness Like This (live)
7. Going Public - Hauntin'
8. Antiseptic Beauty - Solvent Mind
9. Eggplant - Your History is Not My History
10. Boyracer with Even as We Speak - Friend
11. Hellfire Sermons - Bill & Sarah
12. The Seashells - Lovebirds
13. The Bartlebees - You've Taken All My Dreams Away
14. Hula Hoop - Stairway to Elizabeth
15. The Pristines - Final
16. Tea - Two Weeks
17. Tree Fort Angst - Fin de Siecle
18. Glaring Surge - Unreleased Dreams

Duke Street

Jul 1, 2009

V/A. Airspace. Volume 2.

0 Blurts
airspace 3

A01 The Five Year Plan & Choo Choo Train - Pumpin' for Jill
A02 The Close Lobsters - Paper Thin Hotel
A03 The Wedding Present - Don't Dictate
A04 St Christopher - If I Could Capture
A05 The Groove Farm - Just a Silly Phase I'm Going Through
A06 The Brilliant Corners - Where Are the Supremes Tonight
A07 Cud - Strange Kind of Love (live)
A08 The Driscolls - Time for Change
A09 The Family - Shine a Light
B01 Mega City 4 - Honestly
B02 Mousefolk - Where is David Tonight
B03 Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes - Untitled
B04 Benny Profane - Maureen
B05 Heavenly - And the Birds Aren't Singing
B06 Bob - Daymaker Part 2 (Remix)
B07 The Golden Dawn - No Reason Why
B08 The Darling Buds - Shame On You (Slightlydelic Mix)