Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mysteries of the unknown.
I did a lot of unwanted manual labor today and now there's an unearthly glow in my room, so this is probably a good time to talk about what I'm going to talk about. First up is Joe Meek and The Bluemen's I Hear A New World, which I finally got around to hearing after months of casually re-reading Meek's profile in The Rock Snob's Dictionary, the perfect snide manual of things I'm compelled to investigate (next up: Porter Wagoner!). Of course, some people will say Meek "sprayed stardust upon pop aspirants of no discernible talent" (not literally, I don't think, but check it out) and some will say he was "a pioneering English record producer and songwriter acknowledged as one of the world's first and most imaginative independent producers". The truth is both, and with his 1960 solo debut, he fashioned something of a haunting, reverbed-out space surf concept album, and by that I mean something of an ambient Servotron record overseen by David Lynch. Not necessarily for everybody, and at times not even for me, particularly during the chipmunk-ish sections of "Entry Of The Globbots" and "March Of The Dribcots" (although, oddly, the title track doesn't bother me). But the instrumental sections are pretty warped and beautiful, and work well outside of any vague outer-space narrative.

Joe Meek and The Bluemen - "I Hear A New World"
Joe Meek and The Bluemen - "Valley Of No Return"
Joe Meek and The Bluemen - "The Bublight"

Also, I finally figured out why James Chance and The Contortions' "Dish It Out" kept popping into my head at work. I re-read the lyrics and found lines like "Sick of being on the losing end" and "I wanna be the one to tell you when to start and when you've had enough", which I guess means that my brain was subconsciously cuing up a song to reinforce what my brain already knew--in this case that I'm overworked at a crapfest of a job that I nonetheless sort of need. This isn't to say that "Dish It Out" is James Chance's "Clocked In", because it really isn't, but it is raging and unhinged in a way that even Flag dudes would find intense. The other Contortions tracks from the Brian Eno-curated No New York comp. (none of which are are available on the majorly excellent Irresistible Impulse box set) offer up variations on the same crazed atonal funk desperation, with even more incredible lyrics (see "Flip Your Face"), and get more weirdly essential with every listen.

James Chance and The Contortions - "Dish It Out"
James Chance and The Contortions - "Flip Your Face"
James Chance and The Contortions - "I Can't Stand Myself"

I didn't know how much I liked Harry Pussy until I heard "Mandolin", off their Tour or Fuck You or Fuck Blue Men LP. Thank you Chunklet for posting the whole B-side and other things. I forgot how much I liked ESG until I heard "UFO" again. I should have just done a whole post on them. Glen E. Friedman's book about Fugazi is out and you should get it, but don't forget Pat Graham has an awesome book out, too, called Silent Pictures. Check out samples and more samples, and order from Akashic--you might accidentally wind up with an autographed copy! Summer vacation/embarrassing laziness is over, more regular posting is just barely beginning.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Big fucking shit. Right now, man.
Apologies at the outset for not getting this up sooner. "Sitting in a living room gathering dust" wasn't just the title of my last post--it's my fucking life!! Apologies also at the outset for talking about way too much stuff in this post. For starters, the new Budos Band record (The Budos Band II) is out and, like a scorpion, it will probably kill you awesomely. It's not too far off from Budos Band I, but this time you're in Dry Dry Desert as opposed to Lavalava Island (you know what I mean). Unexpected dangers and vaguely Egyptian intrigue await! "Ride Or Die" and "Budos Rising" give off an especially ominous nighttime heat, while "His Girl" acts as a tropical oasis about halfway through. If you feel you could get down with some funkier Ethiopiques stuff by way of Staten Island, you will be in Afro-horn heaven (hell?) here.

The Budos Band - "Budos Rising"
The Budos Band - "Ride Or Die"
The Budos Band - "His Girl"

And not to keep being the cheesy instrumental guy, but Sven Libaek's soundtrack work is also pretty killer (this time by shark attack!). You probably heard some of his work in The Life Aquatic, and as Wes Anderson observes pretty accurately in the liner notes to the Aquatic soundtrack, "Libaek's music is magical and dated in the most appealing ways." Inner Space: The Lost Film Music Of Sven Libaek, issued by obscure soundtrack and library music obsessive Johny Trunk and his Trunk Records (who you can also thank for the Flexi-Sex collection ), compiles songs from four of Norwegian-born/Australia-based (Australgian?) Libaek's major film and TV soundtrack works of the late '60s and early '70s, including The Set, Nature Walkabout, To Ride A White Horse, and the 1974 underwater series from pioneering filmmakers Valerie and Ron Taylor, Inner Space. I've been really into the Nature Walkabout and Inner Space materal, but it's all great, particularly if you're into jet-setting under the sea or surfing through extreme wildlife. This would also be perfect on a tape with The Gentle Rain on the flip side, although you'd need a 110-120 minute tape.

Sven Libaek - "Sounds Of The Deep"
Sven Libaek - "Dark World"
Sven Libaek - "Desert"

The new Bone Awl tape is great (the even newer one is probably great, too), and the first song is pretty good. It's no "These Days Are Marked" but it is "Cassetto", kind of. I also can't stop giving a crap about alternate takes of Beatles songs I never gave a crap about before, like "I'm Looking Through You" and "Penny Lane". The first take of "Tomorrow Never Knows" is worth a listen, as well. I don't know if "Friday Night At the Drive In Bingo" is wonderful or horrible, but it's definitely one or the other or both. You should watch this phonetic Dutch video, and then follow it up with Jordy, and then follow that up with Derek Erdman's great photo journal of his trip to Graceland, if you want to be in awe continuously. Summer is basically over, but fall is looking good.