Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It was lobster season.
As weird a time as this is to be a Dischord fan (why am I not excited about any of their new releases??), they actually put out one of my favorite records of last year with Soccer Team's "Volunteered" Civility and Professionalism. It sounds a bit like Beauty Pill or Smart Went Crazy out-takes with someone like Liz Phair singing on half the songs which...fuck it, that sounds awesome, actually. And they bring some much-needed freshness to the studio project/girl-boy/side-band game, which I had assumed was impossible (because I thought people wanted their boy-girl duos strictly crappy). Oh and I guess I should point out that the band is a duo made up of Ryan Nelson (Beauty Pill, The Most Secret Method, Routineers) and former Dischord employee Melissa Quinley, otherwise that last thing isn't going to make sense. Whoops. I don't know, I get more jazzed about this record everytime I listen to it. But don't take MY word for it:

Soccer Team - "We Closed a Record Store" (from "Volunteered" Civility and Professionalism)
Soccer Team - "Cavity Called Home" (from "Volunteered"...)
Soccer Team - "'Volunteered' Civility and Professionalism" (from "Volunteered"...)

On a related note, the song of the day is Lee Hazelwood's duet with Nancy Sinatra, "Some Velvet Morning", which really feels more like two different songs stitched together than a proper duet. Its crazy, and I like it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

"I still love horned helmets and swords and spears."
Moondog! A blind genius who dressed like a viking wizard (were there wizards in the viking community?), performed on street corners in New York City for years, and made the most perfect orchestra street jazz I've ever heard. Its awesome (and obviously shouldn't be confused with Walter Schreifels' post-GB, pre-Quicksand project)! I'd recommend starting with The Viking of Sixth Avenue, a sort of best-of compilation spanning nearly 50 years of his career that Honest Jon's (partly run by Damon Albarn, who I kind of admire because he's constantly doing new shit, but who I would probably admire more if I liked anything he did musically) put out in 2005. Lots of raw vocal rounds, jazz stomps, animal sounds, etc. Sometimes it reminds me of music that would show up in a Woody Allen film, or like Godspeed or Silver Mt. Zion or that kind of classical punk stuff--only shorter and without any of the really heavy-handed anarchist scrabba-doob, or like less California-y, wackier Brian Wilson vocal workouts--but it doesn't necessarily sound exactly like any of those things. It doesn't sound like anything else in the world, actually.

Moondog - "Theme and Variations" (from The Viking of Sixth Avenue)
Moondog - "Dog Trot" (from The Viking of Sixth Avenue)
Moondog - "Down is Up" (from The Viking of Sixth Avenue)

Song of the day is the Venom stage banter 7", originally released on Ecstatic Peace some time ago. This is a guaranteed day-brightener that would also make a stellar birthday gift for me!! Thank you Jake Fogelnest for talking about it on your Sirius morning show, and thank you WFMU's Beware of the Blog for posting it up so I could download it several hours later. Song of the day runner-up is "Who Are You?" from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. I listened to Sabbath for about 6 hours straight yesterday (Black Sabbath through Never Say Die!, in chronological order) and it was tits, although I will say things start to go south slightly once you get to Sabotage (hour 3? 4?).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The British Calendar Act of 1751.
I was pretty excited reading that thing with Tim Kinsella in the last issue of Skyscraper--where he lists his 10 favorite things of 2006 or favorite things in general--because he mentioned he'd gotten really into Bill Fay this past year, just like I did (especially Tomorrow Tomorrow and Tomorrow, in my case). I guess I would've been excited if anyone had said they'd been obsessing over Fay around the same time I was, but when its someone who's been in a bunch of bands I really like and who's currently in the crazy math fun-fest called Make Believe and who called for every band mentioned in an issue of Alternative Press to break up immediately, the excitement goes up a few notches. I don't mean to focus entirely on Tim Kinsella--everyone in Make Believe is irreplaceable and incredible. This is especially true after seeing them live--guitarist Sam Zurick plays melodic to atonal computer systems (with no signs of fatigue) like nobody I've ever witnessed, drummer and wurlitzerer Nate Kinsella plays drums and wurlitzer at the same time better than most people do one or the other alone, bassist Bobby Burg never stops moving or singing (with no signs of fatigue) like no one I've ever witnessed, and of course Tim Kinsella screeches, croons, and dances Peanuts-style as he sees fit. It makes perfect sense to me, but I know it often causes people to throw a serious hissy. Here are a couple of tracks--"Political Mysticism" (which at first reminded me of Circus Lupus' "Cyclone Billy") and "Sometimes I See Sideways"-- from this past fall's Of Course to bolster your position one way or the other.

Make Believe - "Political Mysticism" (from Of Course)
Make Believe - "Sometimes I See Sideways" (from Of Course)
Circus Lupus - "Cyclone Billy" (from Super Genius)

Song of the day is "Le fille du pere Noel" by Jacques Dutronc, courtesy of the Teardrops Mixtape I got with my Soiled Mattress record. aaaAAAHHHHH the French.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Diamonds deep in the earth.
Jack Nicholson has a really good line about Stanley Kubrick in A Life in Pictures--the bonus documentary that comes with the Kubrick DVD box set (which also includes everything from Lolita through Eyes Wide Shut)--which I think goes something like, "Everyone pretty much acknowledges that he's the man...and I still feel that underrates him." That doesn't quite read on paper the way it sounds coming from Nicholson--with a little bit of cool swagger shifting to true reverence and humble certainty in the span of a few moments. But that's roughly the feeling I have about Kaki King and her record from last year, ...Until We Felt Red. The highest praise I could bestow upon Red would only be the tip of a very mammoth, very involved iceberg, which is probably the highest praise I can think of in itself. The best records tend to leave you pretty speechless and with a million things to say, I suppose.

Kaki King - "...Until We Felt Red" (from ...Until We Felt Red)
Kaki King - "Soft Shoulder" (from ...Until We Felt Red)
Kaki King - "Night After Sidewalk" (from Everybody Loves You)

Song of the day is a toss-up between "I'm Set Free" and "One of These Days"--the former from the "closet mix" of The Velvet Underground's third record, the latter a track from VU, but in this case both courtesy of the Peel Slowly and See set (you can get this for $25, GET ON THAT SHIT). Videos of the day are "20 minutes of The Nation of Ulysses in South Dakota" and Das Oath's "Awesome Rape". Magazine cover of the day is from the February 2007 issue of Outdoor Life (you have to lean in really close to see it).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

All the songs have been sung.
Das Oath's exit from the stage this past year was a major blow to all us kids who spent our formative years feeling our hearts swell like deformed balloons with punk pride, only to feel those hearts deflate and come vomiting up out of our throats when the majority of the really great bands fell apart, leaving only the truly benign, often awful shit to reign supreme. For seven years they did it right, progressively righter and righter, right up until 2006, when they released arguably the two best records of their career--the (technically released in limited numbers at the end of 2005, but more widely released in 2006 so I'm going to count it) brilliant mini-epic Mini-LP, and the "holy shit!" hit in the face that was their 11" (Who's Your Daddy? to those of you on the Coalition mailing list). The Mini-LP is the absolute perfection of their brand of layer-of-noise over alternately speedy and dirty rock 'n roll 'core, while the 11" is that same perfection after it has completely lost its mind, almost teetering (and, graciously, not fully barging) into Blood Brothers territory. And then they had to spoil it all by quitting just when we (me, you, everyone, etc.) probably needed them the most. But I was able to see them on their fairwell tour, at a random house in Albany, and it was just as fucking awesome as I could've hoped. For me they left this world exactly how they'd entered it--playing utterly confused and pissed to the point of losing it hardcore in a basement and running into me for about 20 of the best minutes of my life. RIP:

Das Oath - "Tightened, Solidified, Cracking" (from the Mini-LP)
Das Oath - "Occupant/Applicant" (from the Mini-LP)
Das Oath - "The Terror, the Delight, and the Unendurable Pointlessness of Trying" (from the 11")
Das Oath - "Years of Veneers" (from the 11")

The song of the day for Sunday the 21st is "Better All the Time", courtesy of Scene Creamers (aka Weird War), from one of the best records in many years, I Suck On That Emotion. A nice counterpoint to the Das Oath eulogy I just typed up and a thrilling example of how far something like the Three's Company theme could have gone.

Oh and Cryptograms is up on eMusic a full nine days before its official release, just so you (and I'm talking to possibly as many as two people when I say "you") know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Pope is coming over.
I'm going to use yesterday's mention of Bobby Bare, Jr. as a way to segue back into talking about my favorite records of 2006, which happens to include his (and his Young Criminals Starvation League's) album, The Longest Meow. My record collection might suggest otherwise, but I have serious reservations about new-school country-rock stuff, but only because it can get pretty insufferable and pretty hokey, and because I'm not always in the mood to prematurely enter my thirties (or even actually enter my thirties). I can make an exception in Bare's case because The Longest Meow is pretty loose and pretty on point (if you can be both of those things at the same time), the lyrics are good, and, not counting a few iffy vocal affectations, he seems to be coming from a real place; a real, human, sometimes absurd place. And the whole record's got a nice raucous Replacements vibe (not to mention a song like "Demon Valley" reminds me a lot of "Swingin' Party" off Tim), which is always a good thing. I like "Gun Show" a lot, too. A couple of the slower numbers, but you can't help what you like:

Bobby Bare, Jr. - "Gun Show" (from The Longest Meow)
Bobby Bare, Jr. - "Demon Valley" (from The Longest Meow)

Song of the day comes from the Minutemen--"The Product"--off their Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat EP. My favorite songs always have the most boring titles. And I swear that, vocals and trumpet line aside, this is what Ten Tents jams sounded like. This or Shellac.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"The dollar dances on our ASSES!!"
Sam McPheeters is on myspace. Repeat: SAM MCPHEETERS IS ON MYSPACE. Stop what you're doing and go look. You can come back to this later, or not, it doesn't matter. If you want to continue getting on the McPheeters train, check out the following:

Wrangler Brutes - "Chaos Collides" (from Zulu)
Sam and Joe - "Save the Children" (from the Feer of Smell compilation)

Other good news: Dr. Dog and Bobby Bare, Jr. touring together! This is to me in 2007 what Piebald and Saves the Day might have been in 1999. Yes, that's high praise! Humiliating, cringe-y high praise, but high praise nonetheless. Today's song of the day is this video for "Philip's Head" by Soiled Mattress and the Springs. I guess another song of the day could be "The Seasons Reverse" by Gastr Del Sol, from their album Camoufleur. I've taken up an "if I see a Gastr Del Sol record, I'm buyin' it" policy and it has yet to let me down. What's up, Joan of Arc? Ohhhhh, snap.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"That makes me want to punch someone."
Fuck it, here's the Chad Clark and Basla Andolsun radio hour(s) that I was talking about last week. Bear in mind that this is a pretty huge file (2 hours and 37 minutes; 144.2 MB), but also bear in mind that this will make your life 1000% better. And if you don't believe me, if you have the audacity to doubt my veracity, check their playlist and figure on 5-30 minutes of awesome banter between some of the tracks:

Stevie Wonder - We Can Work It Out
PJ Harvey - You Said Something
The Monks - Complication
A Tribe Called Quest - Love
Talking Heads - Air
Fugazi - Latin Roots
Cymande - Zion I
Fugazi - Place Position
Buzzcocks - Get on Our Own
Morrissey - Sing Your Life
Mary Timony - Blood Tree
Lynn Collins - Think (About It)
Beauty Pill - Rideshare
Chuck Berry - Maybellene
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Rufus Wainwright - The Art Teacher
Tricky - Black Steel
Beatles - Tomorrow Never Dies
The Branford Marsalis Quartet - Doctone
Jeff Buckley - Nusrat, He's My Elvis / Yeh Jo Halka Halka Saroor Hai

Chad Clark and Basla Andolsun on Dissonance/Radio CPR (12.05.06)

Oh and today's song of the day is "Was", from Vincent Gallo's 2001 album, When. I've been trying to find a spot for this on various mix tapes for people for years and it never fucking works. Today's spoken word track of the day is Gavin McInnes and Derrick Beckles talking about veggie burgers, etc. (look under Latest Updates--DO IT!!).

Friday, January 12, 2007

Don't. Even. Write.
I was just talking about The Breeders' Safari EP the other day, and how I had no idea it existed until a few months ago, when I stumbled upon this sweet Beat-Club-ish video on YouTube. I mail-ordered the shit out of it before the video was even done playing, I think. It was a powerful moment! But yeah, obviously this was still during the Tanya Donnelly-era, although I guess it was at the tail-end of that era, and its got a certain Now We're Even feel to it, at least on "Don't Call Home", but maybe that's just me. You also get the unfuckwithable title track (my top choice if I could only pick one Breeders song to cover), a superb pre-Last Splash version of "Do You Love Me Now?", and a rollicking good-time cover of The Who's "So Sad About Us". Basically this is more proof that The Breeders rule, and confirms my suspicion that EPs kick the shit out of LPs.

The Breeders - "Safari" (from Safari)
The Breeders - "Don't Call Home" (from Safari)

Additionally, the song of the day for today (and maybe everyday from here on out) is Z.A.K.'s remix of Clipse's "Mr. Me Too". I cannot stop listening to it!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Its taken me a month or so, but I finally figured out that the new Deerhoof record (Friend Opportunity) is really really really good. It feels weird at first, especially if you've listened to The Runners Four about a hundred times or if you've seen them absolutely shred live at the Andy Warhol Museum. But if you can listen to it a few times in your car, take a break from it for a few weeks, burn it for your friend, bring it to her house, and listen to it while you eat chocolate cake, it'll sound like the best record yet-to-be-released in January of 2007. Check out a crazy 11-minute jazz jam and another song found elsewhere on the record, and a My Bloody Valentine cover from the free EP they released last year (which I'm pretty sure you can download from someplace here):

Deerhoof - Look Away (from Friend Opportunity)
Deerhoof - Choco Fight (from Friend Opportunity)
Deerhoof - Lose My Breath (from the Free EP)

The other January record from a Deer- band I'm really looking forward to is Deerhunter's new jawn, Cryptograms. They used to creep me out, maybe due to the combination of the slightly unsettling rhythmic punk and the very unsettling cover art of Turn It Up, Faggot (sometimes called s/t, though I can't imagine why). But they seemed to have gotten way spacier, if still a little weirded out. I've been obsessed with "Spring Hall Convert"--which is streaming with a few more Cryptograms jams on their myspace page--since my drive down to see Deerhoof (and Brady and Breille (far left)). I also really like "Tree Spies", so here's that, too.

Deerhunter - "Spring Hall Convert" and others (from Cryptograms)
Deerhunter - "Tree Spies" (from the Deerhunter/Alphabets 7")

And finally, the song of the day for today is "Trio" by King Crimson, from their album Starless and Bible Black, which is damn good. Thank you, Tyler.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Yeah, nobody's reading your mail.
Crap, crap, crap. I was going to say do yourself the hugest favor in the world and check out the December 5, 2006 episode of Radio CPR's Dissonance program, which featured Chad Clark and Basla Andolsun from the band Beauty Pill spinning songs they really like and talking about music, but CPR's online library doesn't have it up anymore. So I guess...do yourself a favor and build a time machine?? Sorry, suckers! No seriously, I wanted to share it with whoever would possibly read this because they are--and, though I certainly could, I'm not going to go on and on about them, I'll save that for my 33 1/3 book about The Unsustainable Lifestyle--a band who's existence makes the music world a much better place. And that's been drilled into my head a lot over the last couple days as I've been listening to their two-hour-plus program that's made up mostly of Chad Clark saying the best shit ever and Basla Andolsun picking songs I would've picked if given the same opportunity. I don't know, check here repeatedly and maybe they'll put it back up.

Beauty Pill - "Rideshare" (from The Cigarette Girl From the Future)
Beauty Pill - "This is the Hidden Track" (from With Literacy and Justice For All... compilation)

Gettin' Higher Than Gas Prices.
On the plus side, you can and should download the new Talib Kweli/Madlib collabo, Liberation, which Rappcats has graciously provided. I think Madlib became my favorite producer while I wasn't looking, or perhaps while I was compiling Doom mixes and putting on way too many Madvillain tracks. I still love Doom, though!

Sound Directions - "Dice Game" (from The Funky Side of Life)
Quasimoto - "Seasons Change" (from Bully's Hit 7")