Monday, July 30, 2007

Sitting in a living room gathering dust.
So yeah, this is my co-worker Jake's album. I know it says Steve Curry, but everyone calls him Jake, and that's how I was introduced to him. I don't know a whole lot about Jake, his recording process, or any kind of Latin back stories--all I know is this was recorded in 2000 and that his son (Steven Curry II, who also works at the post office and put out a record kind of recently with his nu-metal rock band, Cry To The Blind) just had it professionally burned and put together by some company he found on the internet. I also know that Jake carries one of my least favorite routes (City 10), looks about 75 but is actually in his late 50s, and is one of the nicest, funniest, kindliest people in the world, and one of my favorite people in the office. The album itself is all instrumental, and has a nice Gary Wilson-y, lite jazz vibe with enough Caribbean beach grooves to garner him a Saturday night spot on BET J. Fair warning, though--if you can't deal with some pure joy, you might not be able to hang with this.

Steve Curry - "E Flat Salsa" (from Latin Journeys)
Steve Curry - "Columbia" (from Latin Journeys)
Steve Curry - "Tapajos" (from Latin Journeys)

Also, if "The Anvil Will Fall" doesn't tear you apart completely, you are a cold, dead stone of a human. The latest Harvey Milk re-issues (My Love Is Higher Than Your Assessment Of What My Love Could Be and The Pleaser) are out and you need them in your life pronto. You also could do worse than "Tezeta", "Statue Of Liberty", and "Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)". I think I just have a weird thing for that last one. Oh check this out, too.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"The line about magazines still applies."
I really thought that Raincoats song I liked a few weeks ago was a fluke, but, along with a cold, I apparently came down with a British post-punk jones that's had me craving PiL and Wire, freaking out over Bowie's Low and "Heroes" (pre-post-punk blueprints!) again, and making specific plans to dig further into The Pop Group and This Heat because I only know them tangentially. But the record that's been hittin' me the hardest has been Swell Maps' 1980 grand finale, Jane From Occupied Europe. Swell Maps' work towards the end of the '70s was something of an inspiration for the post-punk art-ness that burgeoned and mutated well into the '80s, consolidating The Buzzcocks and Can into one ramshackle home-schooled savant punk drone attack, and effectively prefiguring the noisier, goofier end of indie rock (Sonic Youth, early Pavement, etc). And the nice thing is that it doesn't fall prey to all the sometimes overbearing post-punk affectations--there are no self-serious conceptual put-ons, the scrappy amateur approach isn't a liability, and it rarely feels political, and even then in only the vaguest sense (just oblique references to World War II and, in the case of "Border Country", the Welsh Border Wars of the 1400s). I honestly can't tell what they're going on about most of the time, either because the vocals are mixed weird or because the words I can pick out seem abstract or really simple at the same time, but they always make it sound right. Jane is sort of to their 1979 debut, A Trip To Marineville, what Chairs Missing is to Pink Flag--an immediate follow-up that's a bit less brazen, but arguably more compelling as a full piece. Secretly Canadian reissued both albums a couple years back with bonus tracks (though not as many as the Mute reissues from the late '80s) and some great liner notes, so check up on it because these few songs are just the beginning.

Swell Maps - "Let's Buy A Bridge"
Swell Maps - "Border Country"
Swell Maps - "Cake Shop Girl"
Swell Maps - "...Vs. The Mangrove Delta Plan"

I missed the Hitchcock movie last week at the Dryden, so "Shadow Of a Doubt" will have to do. Also the new Yesterday's New Quintet album sounds alright so far, and "Cold Nights and Rainy Days" sums up this week pretty well, AND it even reminds me of my co-worker Jake's album that he just gave to me and everyone else in the office the other day. I really honestly like it a lot and am kind of blown away by it. I'll probably talk about it in my next post. It's called Latin Journeys. Oh and Eric Fensler did a pretty good Ariel Pink video, while I'm thinking of it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

All you gotta do for that guy is wink your eye.
I'm happy to report I haven't yet keeled over from heatstroke and exhaustion (lord knows I've been trying), and to celebrate that not-keeling-over I'd like blab about a couple records from the "albums I own that are kind of rare" category. First up is Television's Live At The Old Waldorf, recorded at the end of June 1978 in San Francisco and issued (in an edition of 5000) for the first time on the Rhino Handmade label back in 2003, around the same time that Rhino Regular re-issued Television's first two masterpieces (1977's Marquee Moon and 1978's Adventure). Their set includes a good mix of Moon and Adventure hits, as well as an awesome take on "Little Johnny Jewel" and a decent encore presentation of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction". But what really makes this a mind-scrambler must-have is how hard they ROCK SHIT. The street-delicate classic rock of their studio work gets turned all the way up (they up the fucking low-down!), making for some crunchy guitar/big beat poetry punk elegance of the highest order. If it's possible, check the transition from "The Dream's Dream" to "Venus".

Television - "The Dream's Dream" (from Live At The Old Waldorf)
Television - "Venus" (from Live At The Old Waldorf)
Television - "Little Johnny Jewel" (from Live At The Old Waldorf)

The other record I want to highlight briefly is a record I don't technically own and don't want to credit anyone with introducing me to, on the off chance it may get her into trouble. But suffice it to say, my burned copy of The South Indian Film Music of Vijaya Anand is an invaluable addition to my collection. Whatever you imagine when you look at the image above is exactly what you get, plus so much more. Fake drum beats, foreign languages, a style that borrows well from Western pop music but is definitely not Western pop music--like a loose translation of American rock n roll crossed with a Euro-disco crossed with Dhalsim's theme music (Yoga Fire!). I will freely admit to enjoying this quite a bit, although it's essentially what you'll hear if you go to an Indian restaurant, and may even literally be what I heard at an Indian restaurant in Georgetown a little over a year ago. Also, if you have a bunch of drunk friends at your house late at night sometime in August, and you throw this record on, strange things will happen--I have seen it!

Vijaya Anand - "Aatavu Chanda (Dancing is Beautiful)"
Vijaya Anand - "Prema Rudaayade (Loving Hearts)"
Vijaya Anand - "Neeve Nanna (Only You Were Mine)"

Man, what else? I like Bryan Ferry's take on "Simple Twist of Fate", and I also like The Long Blondes' "Autonomy Boy". I actually like that What's Your Rupture? stuff more than I thought I would. The Black Lips' "A Lion With Wings" hasn't left my head much either, and Mika Miko has a good video, as well. Oh and did you see another twenty-something kid named Matt wrote about Brighten The Corners? Sure it's insightful, but where is the irrelevent prom info?? Actually, who cares about that--check out Mark McCoy's drawings. Holy shit (do some scrolling).