Mar 31, 2010

Wingdings. Wingdings II: Zarathustra's Puzzle.

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So it turns out that Wingdings is Sam Meringue, of Matrix Metals and possibly Explorers and Flashback Repository. He also worked with James Ferraro on one of the 90210 projects. Wingdings I was pretty 1980s-radio-through-a-loop-delay-and-effects-pedal dipped in Lamborghini Crystal's beer, so that makes sense. Each of the subsequent Wingdings releases seem to develop more song-like structures. Wingdings II has a definite beachy feel to it—sort of like Rangers and Ducktails playing the Hokey Pokey at a roler rink on the boardwalk. There's so many layers of sound and I'm pretty sure they're referencing all sorts of cheesy, good-times songs (at the very end, they just space out on the Witch Doctor song. Oo Eee Oo Ah Ah, Ting Tang Walla-Walla Bing-Bang and all that) that have been processed through Dylan Ettinger styled memories of neon-lit futurescapes from bad 80s sci-fi films. It's quite enjoyable.

This one is by request for Glangel. Thanks for the email.

Zarathustra's Puzzle

Mar 30, 2010

A Brief Interruption in Our Regular Programming

2 Blurts
So, apparently I've been spotted by a lawyer, or the RIAA, or somebody, because Blogger has pulled several posts for DMCA violations. Obviously, I didn't expect to never have to take anything down, but I've tried to be fairly certain the stuff I post is out of print. But whatever. They could have just emailed me, and I would have taken it down, like I offer to in the sidebar. From what I've read, Blogger tends to just delete your blog without warning if you get three DMCA complaints. I've really enjoyed doing this, but I don't know if it would be worth the hassle to start over. I'm assuming my best option is to try and not be noticed in the first place. I've seen the albums that got dinged on countless other blogs, so I'm wondering how they stayed in the free and clear. I'm working on renaming all my files so that you wouldn't be able to find them just by doing a mediafire search, and running all the links through anonymizer, but I don't know how effective any of that will be.

Any other bloggers out there with suggestions? How do you stay hassle free?

Update: This is just getting weird. I reposted the review of the Passions album without any download available, and they sent me another DMCA notice. I don't get it. Anyway, I just deleted the whole post.

Mar 29, 2010

V/A. Oz Days Live.

1 Blurt

The second disk is really the only reason anybody ever looks for this album, as it houses both The Taj Mahal Travellers and Les Rallizes Denudes in what must have been one massive mind-fuck of an evening. But I’ve written about them elsewhere, so I’ll tell you about the real reason you need this: Dr. Acid Seven.

Side one is clogged with otherwise completely forgettable folk singers and Group Sounds bands that may have known how to dress like rock ’n’ rollers, but didn’t have the first clue how to play it. Dr. Acid Seven easily bests them all on Track 4, a thick slab of biker rock that singlehandedly makes the case for the importance of hard drugs in music. This guy makes the whole record worthwhile. Especially on Track 5’s sublimely good-natured drunken sing along. It’s a lanky, strutting song (with kazoo solo!) that happily ambles on down the road feelin’ great, while Dr. Acid Seven (who I imagine as a stilt-legged version of R. Crumb’s “keep on truckin’” guy) gets progressively wilder and sillier with his vocal acrobatics. It would be worth learning Japanese just to be able to properly sing along with this. Proving he can do “pretty” just as well as anybody else, he gets serious on track seven, going back to his futen days with a beautiful, delicate Japanese folk number. This is apparently his only legitimate appearance on record. Unlike the tidal wave of Les Rallizes Denudes releases, I haven’t been able to find any other bootlegs of him in action, which is a crying shame.

This doesn't sound anything like his set on the record, but it's still a pretty bad-ass clip of Acid Seven, Keiji Haino, Kenny Inoue, Masato Minami, Shime Takahashi, and Takashi Mizutani at Hibiya Yagai Ongakudo, Tokyo, May 1974.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Oz Disc 1
Oz Disc 2

Mar 27, 2010

14 Iced Bears. Come Get Me.

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Sarah 005
Released: April 1988
01: Come Get Me
02: Sure To See
03: Unhappy Days

Come Get Me

14 Iced Bears on myspace

Mar 26, 2010

Soft Boys. Two Halves for the Price of One (Only the Stones Remain & Lope at the Hive).

2 Blurts

Released after the band had broken up, Two Halves was exactly what it claimed. Individually titled and designed as a double A-Side, Only the Stones Remain collected their last studio sessions up against Lope at the Hive, a swaggering, gutsy set recorded live at the Hope & Anchor. A few of the songs later made it onto the 1976-1981 compilation, but the full album has never been reissued. Never one to hide their influences, The Soft Boys indulge in numerous cover songs here, with a faithful rendition of the The Bells of Rhymney on the studio side, and rollicking versions of Astronomy Domine, Outlaw Blues, and Mystery Train finishing out their live set.

Two Halves

Soft Boys on myspace

Museum of Robyn Hitchcock

Mar 25, 2010

Candy Claws. Two Airships/Exploder Falls.

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Candy Claws released one of the loveliest albums ever with In the Dream of the Sea Life—a sun-drenched hymn of musical eddies and tide pools that wooshed and sighed like ribbon waves drawing a sheet back and forth over glistening sand. Two Airships lives more in the foam. It’s a Main Street Electrical Parade of whimsy; a circuit board frottage—like a dream-pop version of Lucky Dragons.

Two Airships

Candy Claws on myspace

Candy Claws website

Mar 20, 2010

Another Sunny Day. Anorak City.

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Sarah 003
Released: 1988
01: Anorak City

Greatest Sarah Records song, ever? I think so.

Anorak City

Another Sunny Day on myspace

Mar 19, 2010

Joseph Spence. The Complete Folkways Recordings.

1 Blurt

Joseph Spence played the guitar and sang. Sort of. He rarely seemed to know the words to the traditional gospel and folk standards that made up his repertoire, so he growled and grunted with an infectious, gravelly dirt road of a voice. His vocals bob like a fisherman’s floater, dipping and popping in the surf; sometimes leading the guitar, sometimes just harmonizing with it. He sings like a man constantly swept up in joy—his lyrics more laughter than words.

He was the master of one of the most idiosyncratic and inventive guitar styles ever put to tape. Tuning his guitar to his own eccentric standards and picking out counterpoints and rhythmic shifts that wowed and baffled professional musicians, he earned comparisons to improvisational masters like Thelonious Monk. No one has ever been able to replicate or equal him, and whatever it was he was doing, he did it with immense heart.

The effect is delightful and ebullient. It’s simply insane how good he is. You can’t feel bad while listening to him.


Joseph Spence on myspace

Mar 18, 2010

The Windmills. Edge of August.

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A bit of a time warp, this one. The Windmills formed back in 1987, released one single during C-86's heyday, and promptly broke up. Fast forward to 1998 when three fourths of the original members regrouped for a one-off Christmas gig. Matinee records caught wind of the "reunion" and contacted them about putting out some old Windmills material. Instead, the band decided to make a go of it and reentered the studio to record a new single, Three Sixty Degrees. A year later, they put out their first ever full-length album, Edge of August and it sounds like 1986 again. Jangle-mope at it's best, similar in sound to The Weather Prophets, House of Love, The Go-Betweens, and Lloyd Cole. For the most part, The Windmills combine beautiful, bright guitars with wry, self-consciously downbeat lyrics (I wouldn't have had it any other way / and I'm not that sad / but I'm sad anyway, or Today is not as good as yesterday / which I hated anyway, for example).

"Video" for Git

Edge of August

Mar 17, 2010

Rose of Avalanche. First Avalanche.

1 Blurt

Like the In Rock album, First Avalanche was the result of another dispute with their record label. Unlike NEMS, who could never get The Boys’ albums out on time, Leeds Independent Label was so eager to cash in on Rose of Avalanche that they rarely waited for the group to finish a whole album, instead jumping the gun and issuing collections of singles and b-sides without the band’s consent. This one came out in 1986, just as the band signed to Fire Records.

ROA never fit snugly into any one category, boasting a big, stadium ready sound that amalgamated elements of Lou Reed by way of Felt by way of David Bowie by way of Bauhaus by way of the Doors. Singer Philip Morris’ voice has the requisite deep-death twang, and Glen Schultz’s guitar alternated between blistering and stately. They sound oddly American for a band with indie-goth aspirations, and occasionally they succumb more to mannerism than inspiration, but for an unauthorized compilation, there’s still plenty of good songs—particularly A Stick In the Works, A Thousand Landscapes, and L.A. Rain.

First Avalanche

ROA official website

ROA on myspace

Mar 13, 2010

The Orchids. I've Got a Habit.

1 Blurt

Sarah 002
Released: February 2, 1988
01: I've Got A Habit
02: Apologies
03: Give Me Some Peppermint Freedom


The Orchids on myspace

The Orchids website

Mar 12, 2010

Masahiko Satoh & Soundbreakers. Amalgamation (Kokotsu no Showa Genroku).

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As the revolutionary, but already stagnant rock spirit of the 60’s Group Sounds began to fade, The Japanese turned onto the 70’s by reconnecting with its already well established and well respected experimental underground and jazz scenes. The New Rock had emerged—wilder and hairier than ever before—with bands like Foodbrain, Flower Travellin’ Band, and of course Les Rallizes Denudes. Now the stars of that movement joined more avant garde composers for a slew of wildly disparate releases known popularly as “Super Sessions”. Inspired in equal measures by Karlheinz Stockhausen and Frank Zappa, the Super Sessions bands aimed for the ultimate freak-out territory like only hard-core college-educated music-theory nerds can do.

Actually, the origins of Amalgamation are a little more prosaic. A music magazine asked readers to send in essays about the kind of music jazz pianist Masahiko Satoh should make for his next record. He wasn’t that trilled with any of the suggestions, so he and his mates picked two and decided to fudge something in between. The result was far beyond anything anybody else had produced up to that time.

Assembling Detroit hard-bop drummer Louis Hayes, guitarist Kimio Mizutani, and the Wehnne Strings Consort, Satoh led them all through a complex mix of sizzling guitar noise, brutalist horn bursts, and detuned radio static. Satoh himself played three different ring-modulated Rhodes pianos built specially for this session.

Side one is like a musique concrète mash-up of Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother and Nick Mason’s side of Umma Gumma crashing headlong into interludes of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and a caffeine-frazzled horn section.

Side two is more organically built, starting out with traditional Japanese instruments that are gradually overtaken by chopped up jazz drumming and a squonking, froopling horn. Somewhere along the way, the drumming gets more tribal and the horn becomes a flute. Natives are performing a snake charming dance in the dry grass, but it summons an angelic voiced woman pop-scatting a Popal Vuh lullaby to A Whiter Shade of Pale’s pipe organ instead.

As avant garde as the whole proceedings were at the time, it also strikes me as the type of experimentalism that would have gone over well with the upwardly culturally mobile Americans who subscribed to the Harvard Classics’ Twenty-Foot Shelf of Great Books back in the 50’s. I can easily see it having inspired one of the more visually abstract portions of Fantasia—something that today’s elites would think of as solidly middlebrow despite the revolutionary intentions that created it. There’s nothing to be afraid of, but a lot to be gained if you dig it.


Masahiko Satoh website

Mar 10, 2010

Public Image Ltd. Steel Leg v the Electric Dread.

1 Blurt

Technically, this isn't PIL, but it contains enough of them to count. Credited to Keith Levine, Jah Wobble, Don Letts and someone who may or may not be John lydon, it was an early foray into the deep, spaced-out dub that would be perfected on Metal Box.

Julian Cope says it best:

Ahahaha...this is a 12 incher of 4 reckless post-punk/post-dub workouts. Issued in the wake of Public Image Limited’s “First Issue” album, it’s all rough demo spiky-Levene guitar with Jah Wobble wielding his brown-spotting bass into the face of everyone, as usual. It’s deep, spaced dub meeting the throwaway quality demanded of punk at the time with no concessions whatsoever. 1978 was pretty early for such successfully infectious dub from a younger generation born a culture away from Jamaica. Despite (or because of) this, Wobble’s a bassist with Greenwich Town session player feel, and Don Letts raps on “Haile Unlikely,” exiting on the cross-faded dub version, letting the electronic interruptives and echoed drum beats take the feel beyond sung words, as all the best dub does effortlessly.

No doubt Steel Leg was John Lydon in disguise, as the Carlsberg-oiled background punk rant on “Steel Leg” attests, throwing in jibes and vocal noises as only he would. “Stratetime And The Wide Man” is more weightless dub suspension with tinkling percussion and would be a complete space-out were it not for Wobble’s grounding bass audio compass. It goes beyond mere punky reggae partying -- it’s a PIL t-shirt worn by Syd “Family Man” Barrett with the words D-U-B replacing P-I-L, as the Finsbury Park crew’s ancestral memories of multiple Hawkwind records works its way through the mix with electronics like Dik Mik meets The Aggrovators. Future Public Image Limited records would combine further outings of dub, punk and Krautrocking beyond all reasoning, this EP a signpost pointing the way.

Steel Leg

Mar 9, 2010

Public Image Ltd. Commercial Zone.

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From wikipedia:
In May 1981 PiL moved from London to New York City, but in October 1981 their American record contract with Warner Brothers expired and was not renewed. In January 1982 the British music press reported that PiL had tried to record a new album in New York with producers Adam Kidron and Ken Lockie, but split instead - this was promptly denied by the band in a press release the following week.

In May 1982 drummer Martin Atkins rejoined the band and PiL started recording their new studio album for Virgin Records at Park South Studios in Manhattan, with sound engineer Bob Miller co-producing. On 29 August 1982 new bassist Pete Jones joined the band in the studio, the new line-up played its debut concert four weeks later (28 September 1982 in New York City). During the summer and autumn of 1982 the band planned to form their own record label (Public Enterprise Productions) and license its releases to Stiff Records USA for the American market, but these plans never materialized.

In early November 1982 PiL announced the imminent release of a new single "Blue Water" and a six-track mini album You Are Now Entering A Commercial Zone on their new label. This did not happen, instead the band continued recording at South Park Studios for a full-length album.

By May 1983 a new track "This Is Not A Love Song" was earmarked as a new single for Virgin Records, but PiL broke up when first Pete Jones and then Keith Levene left the band. The remaining members, John Lydon and drummer Martin Atkins hired session musicians to fulfill touring commitments and carried on under the PiL name. The single "This Is Not A Love Song" (with "Blue Water" as a 12" single B-side), both from the Park South sessions, was released by Virgin Records in September 1983 and went to no.5 in the UK single charts.

In summer 1983, in PiL's absence, Keith Levene took the unfinished album tapes and did his own mix. He then flew over to London and presented them to Richard Branson as the finished new PiL album for Virgin Records, but John Lydon decided to completely abandon the tapes and re-record the whole album from scratch with session musicians. This new version of Commercial Zone became This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get in 1984.

Levene decided to put the album out himself on the American market and founded the label PIL Records Inc. for this one-off release. The first limited pressing was released in November 1983 and was heavily imported to the UK and European market. A second pressing (with the track listing changed around and a shorter mix of "Bad Night") followed in August 1984 in an edition of 30,000 copies, to compete directly with the official re-recorded album This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get. Virgin Records promptly took legal actions and stopped the distribution and any further re-pressings of Commercial Zone.

Commercial Zone

PIL on myspace

Mar 8, 2010

Remember Fun. Demos.

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From their press release announcing the re-release of their long lost Train Journeys EP:
Remember Fun were a Scottish band formed in the mid-1980's who aligned themselves with contemporaries the Close Lobsters and the Church Grims in believing pop music could have a bitter edge. Following a string of accomplished demos, they appeared first on a Sha La La flexi with a song called "Hey Hey Hate" in 1986. Two compilation tracks followed: "Clearly Blurred" on an Airspace charity LP in 1987; then "Cold Inside" on the Egg Records 12" "A Lighthouse in the Desert" in 1988. The following year, they made a recording of their most accessible song to date called "Train Journeys." It should have taken the world by storm but sadly never made it to proper release. Instantly memorable, the song features shimmering guitars, honest vocals and a superb beefy bass. Perfectly capturing the disaffection of youth, the song deserved to be heard by everyone.

They put me in the mind of early R.E.M.'s bass sound and Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want-style Smiths vocals. You can grab more of their songs on the Airspace and Corrupt Postman compilations.

Video for Cold Inside


Mar 6, 2010

Sea Urchins. Pristine Christine.

0 Blurts

Sarah 001
Released: November 1987
01: Pristine Christine
02: Sullen Eyes
03: Everglades


Sea Urchins on myspace

Mar 5, 2010

The Brilliant Corners. Joy Ride (Plus Bonus Tracks).

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An absolutely wonderful and mostly forgotten 80's band from Bristol that never quite fully broke through into the mainstream. Probably the most musically accomplished of the post-Smiths bands, singer David Woodward's voice is much richer and more expressive than the usual anemic indie singers, while the band combines elements of The Siddeleys and the Close Lobsters. The songs have a definite verve and bounce with a lot more edge than most of the other indie bands of the period. Where their previous record Somebody Up There Likes Me was a bit of a party album, Joyride adds barnstorming guitar solos and a heavier rhythm section to their catchy melodies and joyous horns. It’s an absolute classic.

Here’s their video for one of the finest indie songs ever written: Why Do You Have to Go Out With Him When You Could Go Out With Me? (with help from Amelia Fletcher (of Heavenly, Tender Trap, and Talulah Gosh fame):

And another for I Didn't See You:


Brilliant Corners on myspace

Mar 1, 2010

Finally Punk. Casual Goths.

1 Blurt

Erin Budd, Stephanie Chan, Veronica Ortuno, and Elizabeth Skadden play perky, spazzcore, freak-punk. Karen O and Beth Ditto are apparently big fans, although Finally Punk aren’t making anything as radio friendly as either the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Gossip. They’re more of a no-wave riot grrl outfit—in it for the gleefully ragged joy of playing your guitar like (or perhaps, with) a cheese-grater. Like the Vivian Girls crossed with Wavves crossed with a defibrillator, Finally Punk favor sharp bursts of dissonant, primitive lower-than-lo-fi noise. They cram twenty-six songs into just less than thirty minutes, and a shriek-tastic stab at Nirvana’s Negative Creep is the poppiest moment on here (it’s also excellent). Casual Goths is actually a collection of the band’s first three limited edition EPs, so you can hear them progress from primitive (but not alienating) roots to a more complex, (though still tangled-in-barbed-wire) anti-pop structure. The album is pressed on a beautiful slab of marbled raspberry vinyl, and comes with a CD of all the tracks, plus video footage of their on-stage mayhem. Buy it while you can.

Download Link removed. Go buy it, folks.

Finally Punk on myspace

Buy it from Germs of Youth records