Monday, April 30, 2007

It's affecting you and me, subliminally.

Hey, check it out--the songs of the week ca. April 23-30, 2007, with a little bit of talk about them!:

Boys Life - "Sleeping Off Summer" (from Departures and Landfalls)
That echo-y thing that pops up just after the start of every line in the verse parts of this song is one of my favorite sounds ever, but what the hell is it?! A whistle maybe? A keyboard? I have no idea. Also, the second half of this album (which this song starts off) really, really destroys.

Spacemen 3 - "Take Me To The Other Side", "That's Just Fine" (from The Perfect Prescription)
Deerhunter - ""Like New" (from Fluorescent Grey)
Two bands cut from similar, drug-soaked cloths. Spacemen 3 are more 60s rock and Deerhunter are more shoe-gaze, but both space the fuck out with nice results. They also both work best for me in small doses (read: Cryptograms is too fucking long).

Lil' Kim - "Queen Bitch" (from Hard Core)
Say what you will about Lil' Kim being a progressively more gross-looking hyper-slut perjurer(sp?), but I've never disliked any of her songs. I just heard this one randomly while driving by Cayuga Lake yesterday and it sounded really good. It even has a quick, awesome line from Biggie tucked in there. I also thought it would be funny if it somehow played off the Bowie song of the same name, but it doesn't at all. That's the only real bummer here.

The Rapture - "Love Is All" (from Echoes)
Not sure why I decided to break this record out, but it was a decent listen several years removed from the unrelenting hype surrounding its release. This song really stuck out to me since it's not a dance song at all. It's more of a ramshackle, mellow rocker, with some nice reverb-y, almost Rolling Stones guitar in it. The way they work in the warped vocals/sounds at the end is pretty nice, too.

Deerhoof - "Giga Dance" (from Milk Man)
I never paid much attention to this song (or this album, really), but goddamn. Deerhoof takes three sections that don't go together at all and puts them together first to accentuate their differences, then manages to find common elements among them. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think that's what's happening here. And then there's the lyrics. This song is really insane the more I think about it.

Make Up - "Blue Is Beautiful", "Have U Heard the Tapes?", "Substance Abuse" (from I Want Some)
I should post every song on this singles comp., but I'll stick to just these three for now. I don't usually fuck with the latter half of this cd and I have no clue why. I guess I thought it was too rough, wasn't as groovy and clean as the first half ("I Am If...", "Born On The Floor", "Walking On The Dune", etc.) and that was apparently a bad thing?? Something stupid like that. But I'm a changed man now. I M a believer.

Video of the day is this Replacements interview. Regular album talk will probably resume tomorrow. Oh and Beck isn't peforming in Canandaigua this summer as previously reported, but this guy is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Full of thoughts already written.
So yeah, The Gentle Rain. More soul/funk/jazz instrumental stuff from yesteryear, which is really all I want to hear right now (in between Bone Awl records, '60s freakbeat shit, and Abbey Road), with a nice bit of '70s light FM going on, ie. jazz flute, synths, horns, shag carpet, good times, Good Times, etc. The original hits by not the original artists, including reinterpretations of Stevie Wonder, Carole King, and the Beatles a few times over (including yet another take on "Fool On The Hill"--what's the deal with that song?) brought to you by Nick Ingman and friends, and eventually the good folks at Sunbeam and Anthology. Writing this off as dentist office Muzak would be a mistake, but having a little shindig and gettin' a little loose to this would definitely not be.

Moody - "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" (from The Gentle Rain)
Moody - "Across The Universe" (from The Gentle Rain)
Moody - "Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse" (from The Gentle Rain)

Song of the day is "Rabbit Hop" in honor of Leah Daniels and her being 23, I think. Runner-up is "Happy Bunny Goes Fluff-Fluff Along" (WARNING: not really a fun song). Non-Leah song of the day is "Melbourne".

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Late Skip Moonlight.
I should really be talking about The Gentle Rain, but I want to round out the very slapdash Beck/Mix Tape double-theme week I started over a week ago, so here are a few random Beck tracks from compilations (which are basically mix tapes, albeit the most unsatisfying mix tapes imaginable, generally speaking). First is Beck's take on Skip Spence's "Halo of Gold", from More Oar: A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album, sounding like a decent/bizarre Odelay b-side. Don't know much about Spence or the Oar record (I'm blanking on what they said in the Rock Snob's Dictionary), so I can't compare and contrast, but I will say my interest is piqued, KIND OF. Next up is a take on Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You In The End", from the Late Great Daniel Johnston tribute comp. Its a pretty standard pairing of Johnston's lo-fi production and Beck's Sea Change voice, and not quite as killer as the original (or any of the original versions, I should say), but it's not bad by any means. And then finally a couple old blues numbers from the soundtrack to Steve Hanft's film Kill the Moonlight--"Leave Me On the Moon" and "Last Night I Traded My Soul's Innermost For Some Pickled Fish". I think I'm going to see Beck with my parents sometime this summer, in Ganandaigua.

Beck - "Halo Of Gold" (from More Oar)
Beck - "True Love Will Find You in the End" (from The Late Great Daniel Johnston)
Beck - "Leave Me On The Moon" (from the Kill The Moonlight OST)
Beck - "Last Night I Traded..." (from the Kill the Moonlight OST)

Beach Boys songs of the day for Saturday morning were "Little Pad" and "Can't Wait Too Long". Beauty Pill song of the day for yesterday (Monday) was "Nancy Medley, Girl Genius, Age 15". Incidentally, check out the blog at Beauty Pill's myspace spot for some free music school. Oh and you can listen to the Clutchy Hopkins-related radio show courtesy of An Aquarium Drunkard--check out the download alone or sign up for their regular podcast. Like it says in the recap, there was barely any talking and TONS of random, good soul/funk stuff for two magically fantastical hours. Run, don't walk...uh, over to that site.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Flying through the air with grace!
Yeah, so let's talk Beck singles ca. 1994. The Steve Threw Up single was the Holy Grail '96 for me, maybe until I found the Jimmy Castor Bunch E-Man Groovin' record but probably even after that, and just like the real Holy Grail, it had to be returned to my friend Andrew since the copy I had been listening to ad nauseum (ba dump bump!) technically belonged to him. But what a song--three and a half minutes of what exactly Steve threw up (falafel, tequila, bagels, catfish, granola, pickles, etc.) while on acid at the top of a ferris wheel. Beck's knack for absurdity and perfect folk songs reaches its zenith at both ends with some help from the gals of That Dog., before devolving into his patented lite Wolf Eyes noise mania (a trick that even found its way onto Sea Change). Luckily I had the presence of mind to be in Washington, DC some eight or nine years later and to bring $8 (kind of steep) with me so I could own my own grail, FINALLY. Also of note, the B side has a slightly longer version of "Mutherfuker" than the one featured on Mellow Gold. I'll try to post that up someday.

Beck - "Steve Threw Up" (from the Steve Thew Up 7")
Beck - "Mutherfuker" (from Mellow Gold)

Not to be outdone, the Loser single bosts four unreleased songs that trump most of what actually made the cut on Mellow Gold. That record has its moments and everything, but I've always been more insane about these fucking B-side gems. Well, not so much "Corvette Bummer", but check out the alternate take of "Soul-Suckin' Jerk". Fucking genius. And again, Beck's savant-like folk mastery is all over "Alcohol". And then there's "Fume", which is whatever for a couple minutes and has some funny lines ("smokin' broken pencils and beatin' up kids"), but then drops major heavy loads all over the place for the last two minutes. It also reminds me of my friend Andrew and his tales of doing nitrous while visiting his brother in Houston. I think I even saw a diary he tried to keep while getting insanely fucked up down there and it was pretty great.

Beck - "Corvette Bummer" (from the Loser single)
Beck - "Alcohol" (from the Loser single)
Beck - "Soul Suckin' Jerk (Reject)" (from the Loser single)
Beck - "Fume" (from the Loser single)

Song of the day is Husker Du's "Makes No Sense At All" because its so good. It also, like "Steve Threw Up", comes courtesy of disc 2 of the Matt Werts Goes to Pittsburgh mix compiled by Tyler Robert Farren. Both come with bonus Carnage clips. Video of the day is some much-needed Dutronc.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A void we filled with death and noise.
The good news is that the forgotten mystery tape from Stoney Way, Spring 2005 opens with a classic clip from a Forever Leather infomercial, and has some surprise picks/decent transitions on side B--ie. Morphine's "Whisper" into Fugazi's "Pink Frosty" into Gordon Lightfoot's "Beautiful", and then later Beck's "Earthquake Weather" (the best song off the worst Beck record?) into Black Dice's "Schwip Schwap" into Nels Cline's "The Ringing Hand". The bad news is the forgotten mystery tape from Racquet Club, Spring 2000(?) is mostly humiliating with very few exceptions--ie. "Broken Face", Beck's "Cyanide Breath Mint" (the best song on the best Beck record?), Boys Life's "All of the Negatives". Best to just avoid personal mixes altogether (are you really trying to impress yourself??). Plus, who has the time?

News of the day is this Clutchy Hopkins shit! Songs of the day are the Misfits' "Green Hell" and Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl (single version)", but they have to be played one right after the other as you're pulling into work. PS--this is clearly the video of the day (probably NSFW).

Monday, April 09, 2007

Nobody can hear the missing.
Welcome to another week of barely posting anything! I assure you (both of you) my lack of writing things is warranted and that I'll get back to the usual three-scattered-posts-a-week routine shortly. In the meantime, here's a two-fer post. First up is Gonzales' Solo Piano, recently issued in the USA after being a mostly non-USA only record, from what I understand. There isn't much I can say about it that isn't spelled out in the name of the record, but the guy from Aquarium Drunkard called it a kind of "musical palate cleanser", and he's dead on. I would also say it's extremely simple and good, makes a perfect soundtrack for driving slowly through the decaying streets of Geneva, and fulfills my current need to hear anything even vaguely foreign.

Gonzales - "Manifesto" (from Solo Piano)
Gonzales - "Armellodie" (from Solo Piano)
Gonzales - "CM Blues" (from Solo Piano)

Second up is Townes Van Zandt's Townes Van Zandt. I was listening to this a lot last week, but I caught part of Be Here to Love Me last night and it got me thinking about what I had been thinking about. I don't know if its maybe uncouth or retarded to relate Townes to someone like John Denver, but that's who he first reminded me of. Like a John Denver who doesn't immediately make me think of muppets (although I have nothing but absolute adoring love for A Christmas Together), I should say. Like a John Denver who is also Gram Parsons who is also [insert old bluesman]. But anyway, Townes Van Zandt is my record of choice so far, until I go headlong into the rest of the Texas Troubadour set. Lots of classics, maybe nothing but classics. Plus "(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria" reminds me of that thing Ray Charles said about how if you want to write a great song, you've got to praise a woman. I don't know if that's completely true (I don't know if it explains Black Flag), but the last thing I want to do is argue with Ray Charles.

Townes Van Zandt - "(Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria" (from Townes Van Zandt)
Townes Van Zandt - "Waiting Around to Die" (from Townes Van Zandt)
Townes Van Zandt - "Columbine" (from Townes Van Zandt)

Songs of the day are Earth's "Miami Morning Coming Down" , from the new Hibernaculum joint, and the Aliens' "R:18" from their upcoming anthology. Video of the millenium is Lumidee and Tony Sunshine's take on "She's Like The Wind". Holy lord.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My cyber impulse was uneven.
I thought writing about Miho Hatori's record from last year, Ecdysis, would be easy, but I've been re-reading all of her lyrics from the record while listening to Flowers-Corsano Duo and Bone Awl, and now my brain is completely scrambled. Suffice it to say, Ecdysis is way more impressive than you think it is, sometimes because its melodies and arrangements are so mellow and subtle that they don't always register, and sometimes because the most brilliant or most crushing lyrics are sung in a language you don't understand ("A Song For Kids" slips this by you: "I found a key to the dream island, I'll be back/I'll give you a code between us, it's secret/Only we know, even mom and dad don't know/I will find the place like this, when I become an adult"). It's a record that reads both willfully child-like and unexpectedly heavy ("I live near the river/In the forest of the deer/I release my arrows/To the sense of your fear") , and often sounds like it's being played from both the future and the past, like a bossanova jazz record re-interpreted by a wistful, time-travelling dream warrioress. Think something like "Sugar Water" with quieter beats or Bjork when she's not singing the shit out of everything or Joanna Newsom's subject matter done right, and you'll be part-way there. Tons of ideas done with care is always a good thing.

Miho Hatori - "A Song For Kids" (from Ecdysis)
Miho Hatori - "The Spirit of Juliet" (from Ecdysis)
Miho Hatori - "Walking City" (from Ecdysis)

Guitar solo of the day comes courtesy of the song of the day ("Rainbow"), which comes courtesy of Boris and Michio Kurihara's record of the same name. Video of the day is this making of "Peg" clip, but I also like this Camera Obscura video.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Baby baby, are you down?
Before I go to a show that promises to be 10% great stuff and 90% stuff that needs to fucking go away, let's talk about some music that has fucking gone away. With its lounge-y, vaguely hip-hop inspired rock thing going on, Butter 08's lone release is very much a mid-90s NYC time capsule record. Weirdly, it's taken me about 10 years to really get into it and not just go along with it based on personnel (Blues Explosion's Russell Simins and Cibo Mato's Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori, along with future Thumbsucker director Mike Mills, and a guy from Skeleton Key (the band)) or enjoy it strictly as late night, I-can't-sleep music. Most of it seemed like a very well-produced joke at the time of its release, but now it feels like a bunch of extremely well-versed cool kids fucking around and making an admittedly schizo, but still for-real album. And as it turns out, being a bunch of fun weirdos is pretty eternal, even if the music feels extremely dated. I'm pretty sure Grand Royal Direct doesn't even carry this anymore, so you may have to check eBay or Gemm, and also the cd came out in both a mock-LP sleeve and a jewel case (not at the same time obviously). Somehow I wound up with both.

Butter 08 - "Dick Serious"
Butter 08 - "How Do I Relax"
Butter 08 - "What Are You Wearing"
Butter 08 - "Sex Symbol"

Song of the day is definitely "Deacon Blues" or anything off Aja, video of the day is this Bobby Conn video that I forgot about.