Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Blues is the Roots...Everything Else is the Fruits Part II

I said I'd be back with some more sweet Blues albums and here I am. Nothing more to say except that these are all exceptional, transcendental and most certainly required.

Mississippi Fred McDowell-S/T

Recorded in his home three years after being discovered by Alan Lomax. He was ripped off by all the usual suspects (Page, Richards, etc.) but he always proclaimed "I do not play no rock and roll." I love his progressions and his focus on droning notes in the style of Northern Mississippi Blues. And who can argue with that slide playing? I'll post his sessions with Alan Lomax which are rawer and also has a lot of what sounds like kazoo playing some other time.

Robert Johnson-The Complete Recordings (Disc 1) (Disc 2)

Come on. Everyone's heard of this guy, he's like THE bluesman. While more research reveals the image he's so famous for is actually lifted from less famous bluesman, that doesn't make his an entirely too short career any less important to music as a whole. The man was terrifying in his delivery and his playing was among the best of the Delta musicians. Listen to him belt out "Sweet Home Chicago" and tell me I'm wrong. You're a fool if you don't want this.

Blind Lemon Jefferson-Best of Blind Lemon Jefferson

The man had quite an output before dying in a blizzard in Chicago but this is a great starting point. The originator of Texas Blues, BLJ was one of the few to get rich and famous in his heyday. His very indivdualistic and acute songwriting skills mirrors Skip James in a way and is very strange weaving in and out of different time signatures. At the same time, the music is quite different. By far one of my favorite bluesman.

Charley Patton-Pony Blues

Another one of the originators and recognized as "The Father of the Blues." He was an inspiration to most blues musicians (Robert Johnson first layed guitar at his home, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker) and one was one of the first to establish the showmanship image as a part of the genre. He was quite proficient and covered many times but this collection has 23 of his most well known songs.

Until next time...

Tobacco Nazi Update

For those of you who read my long angry rant on the SCHIP bill extension from a couple weeks ago only gets worse. The bill passed through the Senate on 01/29 meaning that this will now be a law on April 1st. Now instead of the $8 tax increase per pound on roll your own tobacco, the number is actully a staggering $24 per pound. It costs me $15 for just short of a that even legal? It's a 2,200% increase in taxes on this one product. If you're trying to raise money for our poor children who have to grow up in this completely misguided, retarded, self-serving country, wouldn't you want to tax something that everyone uses instead of focusing on a group that has a predominatly lower income and trying to rape a declining market in the first place? And waht happened to no taxes on people making less than $250,000? I doubt the upper-echelon of our tax bracket rolls their own cigarettes. If the government is going to show their true colors about this, why not tax food that makes people fat? Are they going to tax home-brewed beer supplies? Are they going to do anything else except hit DIY smokers where it hurts? Do they realize that tobacco is a legitimate enterprise for more than RJ Reynolds and Phillip Morris and they will surely be putting plenty of good, honest people that I have come across out of jobs? The most disturbing aspect of this is that they focus on an already battered minority of people who make their own choice to smoke and by instituting this law, there is a clear insidious mission statement by the government to tell people how to live their lives. I may disagree with the current Republican Party on many issues but at least give them credit for trying to protect our rights. Taxes make countries work, but they have to be used intelligently and this already worries me about a president I voted for who is already going to make it harder for me to enjoy myself. Lastly, I AM NOT FUCKING QUITTING BECAUSE THESE FUCKING SUITS WANT MY MONEY AND WANT ME TO. FUCK THIS BLATANTLY UNFAIR LEGISLATION AND FUCK THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. I WILL LIVE MY LIFE THE WAY I CHOOSE.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tickley Feather/Serpents of Wisdom Split (2007)

Quick one before I jet to class. This is more for Tickley Feather than the other band but they are cool as well. Tickley Feather is Annie Sachs, a solo musician from Philadelphia utilizing lo-fi asthetics and plenty of tape loops, keyboard experimentations and so forth. She recently released her first full length on Paw Tracks, home to Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Black Dice, etc. so if you have any interest in the aformentioned band, chances are you'll like this even though they do not bear much resemblence. Either way, the song "Natural Natural" never fails to send shivers down my spine so I dearsay, check it out.

Tickle me?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ephel Duath-Through My Dog's Eyes (2009)

This one is for Joe specifically since we were talking about Ephel Duath a few weeks ago and I had nothing to report. Lo and behold, a new album! And Marco Minnemann is drumming. Killer.

" Few bands within the metal genre can claim to be true innovators these days. One of these bands is EPHEL DUATH, who have managed to truly take their music to where no one else has ever gone before. Starting with their Black Metal-infused music, continuing with their interesting Jazz-Fusion approach and Electro-Dub vibe, they release a worthy successor to their previous masterpiece "Pain Necessary To Know". This time though, they take the whole concept album to an extreme, as the whole album is written from the perspective of a dog (!!!). Basically, what we have here according to Davide Tiso is the soundtrack of a dog's thoughts... talk about extreme now!
To be quite honest, only these guys could successfully release such a crazy concept and such an experimental album, often bordering with extremity, but always within the realms of the avant-garde - as we have been accustomed to all these years. EPHEL DUATH are no doubt one of the true innovators in the metal scene today and if there was ever an "Award for Innovation" they would keep winning it with every release. "

Fetch boy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tobacco Nazis

" The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to raise federal tobacco taxes and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The $33 billion bill would raise federal taxes on cigarettes, cigars, rolling paper and other tobacco products to help fund the expansion. Cigarette taxes would rise from 39 cents per pack to $1.

Congressional Democrats previously pushed to extend the program to uninsured middle-class children, but efforts were vetoed by President Bush, who wanted the federal program geared toward the poor. President-elect Barack Obama is expected to sign the SCHIP expansion if it gains Senate approval.

House Democrats backed the expansion saying it will bring health insurance to more uninsured children.

The federal tobacco tax increase, however, faces criticism from economic conservatives.

“Tobacco tax increases over the years have resulted in less smoking and therefore a decline in tobacco tax revenue. Tying the expansion of a government program to a declining revenue source is the sort of backward thinking that makes taxpayers scratch their heads,” said Steve Voeller, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club.

A group of conservative economic groups wrote members of Congress earlier this month saying continued tobacco tax increases scapegoat smokers and hurt retailers and other small businesses by sending buyers online where they often can avoid such taxes."


"Every legal tobacco product from premanufactured cigarettes and cigarette papers to cigars to roll-your-cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco will be taxed out the wazoo. Take roll-your-own tobacco. It’s currently taxed at $1.0969/lb. The Obama/Democrat S-CHIP plan would hike that to $24.62/lb. Cigarette taxes would rise from $19.50 per thousand to $50.00 per thousand for small cigarettes and from $40.95 per thousand to $105.00 per thousand for large cigarettes."

Ok, first of all, I originally supported this bill. As long as there's an overwhelming need for children's health care, then the state should take care of it. A state's existence is to protect the well being and health of citizens. Fundamentally, that is not off base. My qualm, both as a semi-conservative and a smoker, is how the government is planning to raise funds for this. I was having a discussion with my friend who is a veteran last night and he was telling me about all the weapons research that went on at his base when he was stationed there which included all sorts of sceintific weaponry that frankly didn't sound that necessary. You're telling me that cutting weapons research budget while maintaining a sizable army wouldn't free up enough money to significantly fund this bill without taxing the everyman tobacco user? Last summer, I started making my own cigarettes to avoid the rampant taxation in Illinois on commercial cigarette brands. Now the the federal governement wants to tax me out the ass for it? I recently placed an order that came out to $200 for 17 cartons worth of tobacco. Not even factoring how the company (a small one) would have to raise its prices to meet these new taxes, my order would have been $50 more at roughly $8 in taxes per pound of tobacco. To which I say, motherfuckers. Not only is this federal intrusion unfair and completely worthy of satire (Senator Finnister from Thank You For Smoking comes to mind) but the discrepancy between tax values is also questionable. Cartons of cigarettes and RYO tobacco will be taxed $6 and $7.80 respectively. Other forms of tobacco (cigars, snuff, chew, etc.) are taxed no more than $3 and, excluding cigars, taxed no more than $1.80 per pound. Why the massive difference?

As a smoker, the states started kicking us out of public places. People don't want cancer from second hand smoke, fine. I can live with that. But to fund a healthcare project with my money, when I don't even want fucking kids, because of a luxury habit that I am perfectly comfortable with even if I die in 45 years because of intensely fucking ludicrous. If the government doesn't want me to smoke, they should pay to educate me. But this spineless Democratic agenda to nail smokers and champion health care at the same times is the kind of bullshit move I'd expect from a shaky and misguided Democratic party. Obama can't veto this either since the whole party is behind it. And they're putting him in a really crappy position after all that campaign talk about not raising taxes. I'm fairly cranky about the whole thing myself, and have been ranting at roommates, neighbors, and anyone else who will listen. But I don't think my representative will...


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Album of the Year 2008

I'd make a list but I'm far too lazy. I've posted a bunch of stuff from 2008 that would make up the potential list anyway. In fact, my album of the year is an earlier post but on the heels of a wonderful trip into the nether regions of the mind, I figured it couldn't hurt posting it again. No matter what, this album is perfect for any situation. Lounging, tripping, driving, whatever, it moves at such a perfect pace that it's just impossible not to get into it.

For example, we popped on Alice and Wonderland with this album in an attempt to sync it up while under the influence. Not only did us time travelers love it, but my drunk roommates also enjoyed it as well. To me, that's the sign of a completely compatible album. Everyone I've played it for really digs it, regardless of genre preferences.

So what is it? I guess if I had to describe it, I would say it is the Girl Talk of old school Psych, Krautrock, Freak Beat, etc. None of the music is original but goddamn if it isn't perfectly reinterpreted and overall enjoyable. The guys are two premier London DJs with an affinity for Psych and so there you go. If you missed it the first time around, don't this time. If any music makes Zoltar joyous, then it has supernatural powers without a doubt. Get it.

A very happy new year to all. 2009, here we are.

Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve-Ark 1 (2008)