Sep 25, 2009

Windy & Carl and Heavy Winged. Monolith: Earth.

0 Blurts

The original vinyl version of this was a lovely, single-sided picture disc with both tracks mixed together, but hard panned to the left and right channels. By adjusting the balance, you could control how much drone you heard in relation to your rock (sort of like Boris' Dronevil, or the Velvet Underground's Murder Mystery). The groove on the vinyl also spiralled out from the center of the record, which was a little confusing at first, since it didn't come with instructions.

Windy & Carl have melted into pure, gorgeous drone that barely shifts or stirs but still manages to entrance and immerse (the CD version, which I'm making available here, has an extended mix of this). Heavy Winged lay down an epic free-rock guitar jam bolstered by primitive, gargantuan drumming. It's surprising how well these tracks work, whether together or alone.

Part one has both of the individual tracks. Part two is the hard-panned stereo mix.

Part 1
Part 2

Windy & Carl official website
Windy & Carl on myspace

Heavy Winged on myspace

V/A. The Future Sounds of Leamington Spa.

2 Blurts

UPDATE: OK, I somehow managed to post this without the rather important download link. I'm going to blame a migraine. Or being lost in a sex fog, fantasising about my girlfriend. Either way, it's fixed now.

I came across this collection years ago on Soulseek. It's not an official Leamington Spa release, nor do I know if it was put together by anyone associated with them, or just an enthusiastic fan of their sound. Regardless, it's just as good as the official compilations with some great tracks I haven't heard elsewhere (the contributions from After This and Rabbit's Wedding were particularly good).

1. A Craze - She Is So
2. A Thousand Miles of Sunshine - Jimmy Highlife
3. After This - Fields
4. Company She Keeps - What A Girl Wants
5. Distant Cousins - Concrete Boxes
6. Exhibit B - It's Hypothetical
7. Fat and Frantic - Last Night Mt Wife Hoovered My Head
8. Graham Fellows - Sorry Samantha
9. Hardyboys - Fifteen
10. I-Lands - Back Before the Pain
11. Rabbit's Wedding - Coming Like Summer
12. Sensation - Yesterday Things Got Worse
13. Sensible Jerseys - Go To Work
14. The Boothill Foot Tappers - Jealousy
15. The Boy Hairdressers - Tidal Wave
16. The Bridge - Shame is a Girl
17. The Frontier Scouts - Out of Your Shell
18. The Frontier Scouts - When Daddy Blows His Top
19. The New Colours - Do You Want to Pray
20. The Future Kings - Bury My Heart
21. Wake Up Afrika - Simple Words

Future Sounds

Sep 24, 2009

V/A. The Sound of Leamington Spa. Volume 6.

4 Blurts

1. Gradapenda Rosindale - Bad Days Must End
2. Company Of Cowards - Summer Story
3. Rumblefish - Medicine
4. The Candie Maids - Threadbare
5. Who The Hell Does Jane Smith Think She Is - Use Imagination
6. Easter And The Totem - Acid Reign
7. The Decemberists - James Is (Still The Same)
8. The Artisans - All I Ever Wanted
9. The Hyacinth Girls - Sometimes You're Incredible
10. The Sullivans - Standing On
11. Bookemdanno - BJs
12. Yeah Jazz - Julie And The Sealions
13. Plume - Everything I Need
14. Ginger Bottles - Goldfish
15. A Riot Of Colour - House
16. The Applicants - Say Goodbye
17. Mirrors Over Kiev - Different Girl
18. The Jactars - Not Seen, Not Heard
19. Lilac Trumpets - My Heart Bleeds
20. The Potting Sheds - Matches
21. Emily - Merri-Go-Round

Volume 6

The Sound of Leamington Spa info on TweeNet

Sep 23, 2009

V/A. The Sound of Leamington Spa. Volume 5.

2 Blurts

1. Nine Steps To Ugly - Eddie Lopez Lives In Slough
2. Perfect - Desire
3. A Strange Desire - Promise To Lie
4. On The Waterfront - Mrs. Harrington
5. The Shrew Kings - Losing My Cool
6. The Incredible Blondes - Forever (Swansong)
7. No Flags etc - Rubble
8. This Poison! - Driving Skills
9. Carpenter Joe - The Path Of Most Resistance
10. Kid Sinister - The Cradle Born
11. Almost Charlotte - Frustration
12. Men Of Westenesse - Boating
13. The Honeymooners - Untitled
14. Action Painting! - Boy Meets World (alt version)
15. Black Cillas - Sebastian
16. The Thieves - And Then He Died
17. Ade Moose and Walker - Lounge Around
18. The Wildhouse - Ficca

Volume 5

The Sound of Leamington Spa info on TweeNet

Sep 22, 2009

V/A. The Sound of Leamington Spa. Volume 4.

1 Blurt

1. The Clouds - Get Out Of My Dream
2. The Submarines - I Saw The Children
3. Decoy Avenue - Gone Native
4. The Candy Darlings - That's Where Caroline Lives
5. 35 Summers - Really Down
6. Nivens - Yesterday
7. Tiberius Minnows - Time Flies
8. The Marteens - First Kiss
9. Hellfire Sermons - The Best Laugh I Ever Heard
10. The Bridge - Shame Is A Girl
11. The Apple Moths - Everything
12. The Williams - I Know I'm Nothing Special To You
13. Johnny Says Yeah - Waiting Here For Me
14. Dislocation Dance - He's The Man
15. The Church Grims - Plaster Saint
16. Beethovens Kiss - The Wonder Of You
17. Nautical William - Love House
18. Explained Emma - When My Heart Rings
19. The Days - Audrey's Curtains
20. Wake Up Afrika - Walking Blind

Volume 4

The Sound of Leamington Spa info on TweeNet

Sep 21, 2009

V/A. The Sound of Leamington Spa. Volume 3.

0 Blurts

1. The Candidates - Sound Of Summer
2. Pure - Aspidistra
3. Accrington Stanley - The New Me
4. The Morrisons - Listen To Your Heart
5. 1000 Violins - Start Digging My Grave Sugar
6. The Bloody Marys - Stain
7. Me And Dean Martin - Me And My Paisley Shirt
8. Bounce The Mouse - Will You Ever Say
9. Exit 13 - Perfect Dream
10. Waving At Trains - Sylvie
11. Thin Gypsy Thieves - Perfection
12. The Passengers - Sometimes
13. Snowbirds - Motorcycle Baby
14. The Deddingtons - The Last Day
15. C-Saim - Give And Take
16. Onionhead - It Comes Around
17. Honeytrap - Peace In A Picture
18. The Chairs - Brave Little Soldier
19. The Irregulars - Against The Grain Of My Life
20. The Chalk Giants - Pushing Gary Down

Volume 3

The Sound of Leamington Spa info on TweeNet

Sep 19, 2009

V/A. The Sound of Leamington Spa. Volume 2.

0 Blurts

1. Friends - You 'll Never See That Summertime Again
2. Bob Hope - I Don't Know
3. Newsflash - An Englishman
4. The Sandalwoods - The Day Is Mine
5. Said Liquidator - Third Man
6. Reserve - Butcher's Daughter
7. Benny Profane - Tear The Web
8. Dubious Brothers - Yes Man
9. Phil Wilson - Better Days
10. The Groove Farm - Just a Silly Phase I'm Going Through
11. Splendid Fellows - Fields of Corn
12. The Big Gun - Heard About Love
13. Harbour Bar - The Boy I Was
14. The Honest Johns - Judas in Me Singing
15. Fat And Frantic - I Don't Want to Say Goodbye
16. Fallover 24 - Cloth Stained Blue
17. The Passmore Sisters - Difficult
18. Love Parade - Under the Weather
19. Ambitious Beggars - Pockets and Minds

Volume 2

The Sound of Leamington Spa info on TweeNet

Sep 18, 2009

V/A. The Sound of Leamington Spa. Volume 1.

1 Blurt

1. The Pooh Sticks - Indiepop Ain't Noise Pollution
2. Episode Four - Strike Up Matches
3. Big Red Bus - Cathedral Walls
4. The Man From Delmonte - Drive Drive Drive
5. Hey Paulette - I Really Do Love Penelope
6. Where Gardens Fall - Search
7. The Anyways - Silver
8. Metro Trinity - Spend My Whole Life Loving You
9. The Hepburns - Andy & Valerie
10. Asia Fields - Dazzed
11. The Siddeleys - Sunshine Thuggery
12. Hot Rain - Time Is On Our Side
13. The Desert Wolves - Mexico
14. Clamheads - Summer's Coming Down
15. Sister Rain - Burt Reynolds
16. Cherry Orchard - So Blind
17. North Of Cornwallis - Billy Liar
18. The Windmills - The Day Dawned On Me
19. Last Party - Barbecued
20. The Wishing Stones - Beat Girl
21. The Aurbisons - Holy Cow

Volume 1

The Sound of Leamington Spa info on TweeNet

Sep 17, 2009

Emeralds. Fresh Air.

1 Blurt

A glimmery, gooey, outer space nebula of music, as colorful and melty as its cover. Just lovely.


Sep 16, 2009

Beck. The Record Club. The Velvet Underground & Nico.

0 Blurts

You can't go too wrong with the Velvet Underground, and Beck manages about what you'd expect for an off the cuff covers album. It's neither awful nor a revelatory reimagining by the guy who brought you Odelay and Midnite Vultures. Beck's kind of been spinning his wheels since those albums anyway, and thankfully he doesn't treat this as Sea Change 2.0, either.

My girlfriend has always felt "Sunday Morning" was one of the most depressing songs ever written—the innocently sleepy music belies the paranoid, fatalistic lyrics (It's just the wasted years so close behind / Watch out, the world's behind you). Beck keeps it appropriately dreamy, but loses the menace. I do like the addition of the female backing vocals. "I'm Waiting for the Man" gets a ramshackle rhythm that mostly works, but "Femme Fatale" is ruined by terrible drumming. "Venus in Furs" sounds like Radiohead puked on it, and that puke recorded the electronic effects splattered all over the track. On "Run Run Run", they just go ahead and Beck-ify it and it works wonderfully. Where the original was a great, tense guitar rave-up, here they use bleepy keyboards and programmed drums to replicate the train-track rhythms and turn it into something Mum might have pulled off in their early days. "All Tomorrow's Parties" gets a similarly burbling electro-pop treatment. "Heroin" is frankly just awful, but I'm including an alternate acoustic version that Beck put up after the initial "release" that works so much better. "There She Goes Again" suffers from rather random instrumentation, while "I'll Be Your Mirror" sounds the most like its source material. I really like the way they turn "Black Angel's Death Song" into a Dylan-esque folk anthem, and "European Son" gets similarly stripped down.

Altogether a so-so effort, but the good parts are really good and—other than "Heroin"—nothing's really all that bad. Worth a try.

VU & N

Official Beck website

Sep 15, 2009

Flaming Lips. Trippy Lip Shtick. Live at the Antenna Club, Memphis. April 1994.

0 Blurts

Back when I got all my bootlegs from tape trading or independant record stores, this seemed to be the Flaming Lips show that turned up everywhere. And it is a really great set, from the height of their lime green and orange period. If I were a millionaire, I would pay them to get Ronald back in the band. That kid was a gee-tar genius.


Flaming Lips official website

Sep 11, 2009

Ariel Pink. Underground.

0 Blurts

Ariel Pink. Nail Piker.


Sep 9, 2009

A Sunny Day in Glasgow. The Sunniest Day Ever & Tout New Age.

0 Blurts

Pretty noisy/Noisy, pretty.

Everyone calls them shoegazers, so I guess I'll go along with that. It's not shoegaze like anyone I'm familiar with, though. The Sunniest Day Ever is a masterpiece of vertiginous, see-sawing rhythms and smashed glitter-ball textures that suggests an alternate universe Siouxsie Sioux/Cocteau Twins mash-up with severe equilibrium problems. I've never listened to it on headphones, but I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to do while standing. You know that sliding sensation you get just before fainting, where the world itself seems to have tilted before you realize it's actually you? That's what this sounds like. A Mundane Telephone Call to Jack Parsons is a whole new kind of awesome.

Tout New Age is a bit tamer, eliding into the sort of sound the Cocteau Twins were exploring on their later ambient remixes (this has become more pronounced on their latest release, Ashes Grammar). Not quite as fractured as thier first EP, but still adventerous and very pretty.


ASDIG official site

ASDIG on myspace

Sep 8, 2009

Tragic Mulatto. Hot Man Pussy.

2 Blurts

My apologies to any Buck Angel fans who may have found there way here by accident.

I think there should always be at least one band that would genuinely freak out kids' parents if they knew they were listening to it. Usually it's someone undeserving like eminem, or someone explicitly setting out to be "that band", like Marilyn Manson (I have absolutely no idea who wears that mantle these days). Much like you can't intentionally create a cult movie, you can't make yourself be freaky. You have to inhabit it, not just dress like it1.

Back in the 80's, the Butthole Surfers should have been "that band". Had they been unable to fulfill that title, Tragic Mulatto would have stepped up quite nicely. A scuzzy, grungy, noisy, free-jazzy, heavy as shit, weeping sore of a band, Tragic Mulatto were clearly never destined for fame or success, but they were perfectly suited for infamy. Sadly, even that didn't save them, as hardly anybody remembers them these days.

1. If you have tell people that you're a weirdo, you're not. See also: the difference between Hairway to Steven and Weird Revolution.


Tragic Mulatto on myspace

Sep 4, 2009

Tragic Mulatto. Chartreuse Toulouse.

2 Blurts

You don't hear the tuba as a lead all that much (outside of Billy and the Boingers). Tragic Mulatto, however, make a strong case for it being more than a literal heavy metal instrument. Fronted by the aptly named Flatula Lee Roth (along with Bambi Nonymous and the Rev. Elvister), TM rocked it for the San Francisco freaks back in the day. Imagine Grace Slick backed up by the Butthole Surfers, and you have a pretty good idea of their sound. This is probably their most accessible record, although there's no shortage of hard-core-bad-acid-psych-punk-noise-exorcisms (check out the kick-ass Slade cover, I Don't Mind, and the call to arms Rise Up/Get Down).


Tragic Mulatto on myspace

Sep 3, 2009

The Raincoats. The Raincoats.

0 Blurts

Quite some time ago, Twisty Faster1 posited that no truly authentic women's culture could exist so long as women are judged primarily by sexist/patriarchal standards (i.e., "show us your tits"). She was blogging in response to the question of whether or not there is any rock music appropriate for a feminist. Her answer?
No. Yes. No. [...] My premise is that pop music does not exist in a vacuum, so, like painting or literature or history, it necessarily absorbs the hegemony of the larger culture, which happens to be a woman-hating culture.

I've been thinking about this on and off for quite some time, and I still can't say whether I completely agree with her or not. I think the above is largely true. That doesn't mean that women in rock are necessarily supporting or acquiescing to misogyny, but that—at the very least—they're still stuck reacting to it. In other words, there's no space to find out what music would be if it didn't have to constantly address these issues (whether you're battling it head on like Bikini Kill, or turning to some sort of essentialist Earth Mother counter-culture like Lilith Fair).

Speaking of Bikini Kill,
The riot grrls took a valiant stab at it--because goddammit chicks can too rock, assholes!--but the thing is, they were merely infiltrating an existing paradigm; the models of rockstardom and sexgod cockworship were slightly retooled to accommodate women performers, but this was not, to my mind, so much an "authentic" women's art form as it was girls rockin’ out according to a male code (this is a common rockdude criticism of the riot grrl school, but I don't mean it dismissively; there was no other conceivable outcome, and besides, that shit was a blast.)

I guess my minor disagreement is over whether rock is inherently, paradigmatically male. Does male hegemony of rock culture preclude the possibility that women could make music in the same vein without it being inauthentic? The culture may be male oriented, but does rock qua rock2 have to be?

I'm reminded of another gender-bending act, Lez Zeppelin. Asked why an all-female Led Zeppelin cover band worked so well, they speculated it was because Zeppelin itself was already a pretty girly band. Part of their appeal was that all those fourteen year old boys secretly wanted to make it with Robert Plant (admit it). Seeing women do those songs made it OK to at least subconsciously acknowledge those fantasies.

Rock has a long history of being a space where hidden (or not so hidden) sexualities could find expression and even flourish. From Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, to Little Richard, David Bowie, disco, and Deerhunter, gay culture has arguably had more of an influence on the history of modern music than anything else. (Not that the struggle for gay rights and women's rights are exactly the same thing, but they are, of course, linked). All of which is to say that I think it's possible that rock was co-opted as much from women and gay culture as it was from black musicians. White dudes may run the show, but it doesn't make the music theirs.

Anyway, all of that's a long way to go to mention that Kill Rock Stars will apparently be reissuing The Raincoats long out of print first album. The Raincoats were, as far as I'm concerned, simultaneously the feminist band, and the most authentically female band, ever (laying aside the fact that there are as many different types of "authentic women's music" as there are women in music).

The Raincoats were deeply feminist, but at the same time so unique that, even while singing about explicitly feminist concerns, the issue of their own gender seems...less important?3 Which isn't to say that it's absent or even neutral (which generally gets interpreted as "male", the same way neutral was code for "white male" during the Sotomayor nomination process), just that it's been transcended, or at least subverted and twisted to such a degree that it becomes nearly impossible to tease out. Check out their gender-bending cover of the Kinks' classic Lola, for example. A group of women covering a love song originally written by a bunch of guys—but a song that was already celebrating a man's relationship with a trans woman who introduces him to the world of love and sex. By covering the song without changing any of the lyrics or pronouns, the Raincoats erase the possibility of assigning a gender to the narrator. Could it even matter at this point?

Making the most of the DIY landscape opened up by the punk scene, The Raincoats went ahead and crafted a completely new language: a minimalist-folk-punk-dissonant-avant-garde-marxist-feminist-pop that's never unapproachable or bogged down by the abundant experimentation. Even today, it's shockingly, refreshingly new in the way punk was always supposed to be.

1. This post was from I Blame the Patriarchy waaay back in 2005, so don't go bothering her there. Twisty now blogs as Jill, and you can enjoy her advanced patriarchy blaming here.

2. I know. I am a pretentious asshole.

3. When I say that gender issues seem less important with the Raincoats, I mean that, more than any other band, they don't sound like they're reacting to anything or anyone else. Kurt Cobain wrote that he always felt like he was listening in on them rather than to them. Their music was something private, created just for themselves, even if they later released it to the world.

Part of that personality comes from the way they played, as if they were each moving towards the idea of a song, but in their own way at their own tempo. It's some type of egalitarian magic where no member dominates, but together they shift in and out of focus and synchronicity; an organized disunity that gives them a startling emotional depth.


Raincoats on myspace

Raincoats official website

Sep 2, 2009

V/A. The Sun CD Collection. Black Music Originals. Vol 3.

0 Blurts

1. James Cotton - My Baby
2. James Cotton - Straighten Up Baby
3. Little Milton - Alone and Blue
4. Little Milton - If You Love Me
5. Billy "The Kid" Emerson - I'm Not Going Home
6. Billy "The Kid" Emerson - The Woodchuck
7. Raymond Hill - The Snuggle
8. Raymond Hill - Bourbon Street Jump
9. James Cotton - Cotton Crop Blues
10. James Cotton - Hold Me In Your Arms
11. The Prisonaires - What'll You Do Next
12. The Prisonaires - There is Love In You
13. Doctor Ross - The Boogie Disease
14. Doctor Ross - Juke Box Boogie
15. Billy "The Kid" Emerson - When it Rains it Pours
16. Billy "The Kid" Emerson - Move Baby Move
17. The Jones Brothers - Every Night
18. The Jones Brothers - Look to Jesus
19. Lewis-Johnson Combo - I Feel So Worried
20. Lewis-Johnson Combo - So Long Baby Goodbye
21. Billy "The Kid" Emerson - No Greater Love
22. Billy "The Kid" Emerson - Red Hot


Sep 1, 2009

V/A. Bro Zone. States Rights Records.

0 Blurts

1. E*Rock feat YACHT on programming and DJ Hot Air Balloon on shouts - Bro Up 2005
2. Dirty Projectors - Nevermind
3. Bobby Birdman - I've Been Away
4. Hooliganship - Tropycal
5. White Rainbow - oooo yeah freedom 96
6. YACHT - Drawing in the Dark
7. Lucky Dragons - Mini Peace 5(Mint Aoa)
8. Jib Kidder - Yall Want That Drell
9. Atole - ¡Pancho!
10. Paper - Keep Distancing
11. Parenthetical Girls - Puritanically Yours
12. [[[[VVRSSNN]]]] - Return of [[[[VVRSSNN]]]]
13. Cains & Abels - Opportunity (Summer Moon Illustration)
14. Franz Prichard and Alex Bundy feat. Bobby Birdman - Deeper Vision, Pale Shadow (I Am The Ghost)
15. World - Rejoice in the U of the Flute
16. Thanksgiving - 99 Cents Bag of Chips
17. Dear Nora & Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Hot Boyz
18. Hooliganship - Meditation Song
19. S. American Agriculture - Close Your Eyes....
20. Kanda - In Celebration of Karaoke
21. Manta - Samantha
22. Golden Shoulders - Let My Burden Be
23. YACHT - Holy Sh (Demo Version)
24. Lucky Dragons - Ivy Girl
25. The Watery Graves of Portland - Caracas
26. The Kallikak Family - Dulce De Leche
27. White Rainbow - FROOZZZZZMIOP
28. Bobby Birdman featuring Little Wings - Dreemz
29. Kid Finish - Loving My People
30. Jib Kidder - Pattern of Plant Sabbath

Bro Zone