Saturday, February 21, 2009

Killer African Psych Rock and Funk

Group Inerane-Guitars From Agadaz (Music of Niger)

"Group Inerane is the now sound of the Tuareg Guitar Revolution sweeping across the Sahara Desert and inspired by the rebel musicians that started this music as a political weapon used to communicate from the Libyan Refugee camps in the 1980s and 1990s. Spearheaded by the enigmatic guitar hero Bibi Ahmed, Group Inerane has been together for several years and carries the rich tradition of Tamachek guitar songs for another generation. These ten tracks are a combination of amplified roots rock, blues, and folk in the local Tuareg styles at times entering into full-on electric guitar psychedelia. This music is performed with two electric guitars, a drum kit and a chorus of vocalists. The recordings were captured live in the city of Agadez in the Republic of Niger"


Group Doueh-Guitar Music From the Western Sahara

"If you think you’ve heard all the great electric guitar styles in the world, think again. This Saharan sand-blizzard of fine-crushed glass will grind your face to a bloody pulp. Group Doueh play raw and unfiltered Saharawi music from the former colonial Spanish outpost of the Western Sahara. Doueh (pronounced “Doo-way”) is their leader and a master of the electric guitar. He’s been performing since he was a child playing in many groups before finally creating his own in the 1980’s. Doueh says he’s Influenced by western pop and rock music especially Jimi Hendrix and James Brown. His sound is distorted, loud and unhinged with an impressive display of virtuosity and style only known in this part of the world. His wife Halima and friend Bashiri are the two vocalists in the group. Saharawi songs are from the sung poetry of the Hassania language. The music is based on the same modal structure as Mauritanian music, however, Doueh’s style is a looser appropriation infused with a western guitar scope, one that relies, in his words, as much on Hendrix as it does traditional Sahrawi music. It also adds a playful pop element that rarely filters through in this region. Doueh has turned down countless offers from Morocco and Europe to release his music but he decided to offer us access to his homemade recordings and photo archive for this amazing debut release."


Group Bombino- Guitars From Agadez Vol. 2

"Group Bombino is the latest salvo from the Agadez music scene. Led by the guitar virtuoso Omara Mochtar (Bombino), the group’s debut LP-- Volume two in the Guitars from Agadez series, represents the latest chapter in the modern sound of the Tuareg revolution. As of 2008, the Tuareg rebellion is in full force again, and Bombino is in exile to parts unknown. Agadez has been cut off from the rest of Niger. The only road that connects this legendary city with the rest of the country is littered with land mines and the only escorts are the military. This music and its messages of hope, justice, and desire for validation of the Kel Tamachek way of life ring louder than ever. Group Bombino are gaining mythic status in and around the Tuareg community for their incendiary live performances. Coming from the same scene as Group Inerane and sharing some of the same musicians, Group Bombino showcase both sides of the Tuareg Guitar style. Side one features the “Dry Guitar” sound, an unplugged selection of songs sung among the dunes and stars of the Tenere desert. Side two showcases the electric fury of the full band, a melding of heavy, psychedelic guitar heroics with a raw garage sound, back beat percussion, all swirling in extended trance rock moves. Recorded live and unfiltered in Agadez and the surrounding desert in early 2007, with the band’s equipment powered by generators and an unflinching dedication to the rebellion, Group Bombino’s music transcends any influence and ignites the raw passion of its message to the outside world."

Haven't listened to it yet but I expect it to be just as amazing as the other two.

Africafunk-The Original Sound Of 1970s Funky Africa (Part I) (Part 2)

"The 70’s were a fertile decade for music in Africa, particularly funk music! These painstakingly compiled Afro gems are characterised by a potent combination of infectious rhythms, intense lyrics and raw melodies, and are guaranteed to enthral the most fastidious funk devotee, play after play after play!"

Some of the best funk I've ever heard.

African Scream Contest: Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds From Benin & Togo 70s

"This is what happened when James Brown came to Africa and funk swept the continent. Of course, these guys put their own unique spin on it, and the result is sheer delight. You will find it physically impossible to hold still. Best of all, three of the tracks are by the Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, who have to be the ultimate funk outfit of all time. Check out track 10. It is hard to explain the addictive nature of this music. I bought this disc when it first came out, and it rarely leaves my rotation for more than a few days. A lot of good Nigerian funk came out in 2008, but this stuff, from Benin and Togo, tops it all."

Also more excellent funk

I can't the stress how incredible the first two albums are. Get them at all costs.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Touch & Go Records pretty much done for

Touch and Go head Corey Rusk has announced that the legendary Chicago indie label (which released Slint's Spiderland, and a bevy of indie rock from two generations of indie bands) will be cutting off it's distribution services (it distributed albums from Suicide Squeeze, Kill Rock Stars, Merge, Jade Tree, and others) and scaling down significantly to essentially just manage past releases.

Citing economic downturn, Rusk said that the label won't be releasing any new music that isn't already set up to be released (like Crystal Antlers debut, Tentacles, which is due out on April 7, and their planned Jesus Lizard reissues).

The label, which celebrated its 25 anniversary in 2006, was home to many indie rock bands, who, unfortunately for Touch and Go, jumped to majors soon after joining the label (like Butthole Surfers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, and others).

In his release, Rusk made clear that the label isn't necessarily kaput, it's just not going to be what it was.

Here's Rusk's full statement:

"It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.

"Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.

"Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings."

Awful news on an awful day. Seems to always fit. One more thing on my mind today.

Junior Kimbrough

From the somewhat underground North Mississippi blues area (like Mississippi Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside), Kimbrough plays a very unique droning style with emphasis on the bass strings and dreamy melodic flourishes in between. The percussion is usually somewhat mid paced and considering how popular some of these bluesy garage rock bands have gotten, makes Kimbrough way ahead of the times even if he didn't put anything to tape until the 1990s. It's dark, gloomy, comforting, strange and peaceful in a way that only the blues can be.

The Black Keys did a whole EP of just his songs, Iggy Pop did a cover, etc etc. ESSENTIAL

I'll just put up the greatest hits for now, leave a comment if ya'll want more

Meet me in the city

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bob Log III


When Bob Log III was a child, he lost his left hand in a boating accident. It was soon replaced with a monkey paw, and a new guitar style was born.

"It's my own personal style, see," Log says, "the paw moves much quicker than a normal hand, so my real hand has to flop around a lot to compensate."

And what about the helmet?

"What helmet?" he asks, his voice muffled by a helmet.

Bob Log III is an enigma wrapped in a riddle and riding a wave of futile guessing and searching as people around the globe are trying to figure out just one thing. Who is this man? Rumours have started to circulate that he is anyone from Tom Waits to one of the Strokes.

"He's Bob Log, an enigma." a spokesperson told NME. "He's not one of The Strokes. None of them have monkey paws."

In the April 24-May 1 issue of Time Out London, Tom Waits is asked who he is listening to right now. He says, "Well, I really like Wu Tang Clan, those guys kill me. And then there's this guy named Bob Log, you ever heard of him? He's this little kid -- nobody ever knows how old he is -- wears a motorcycle helmet and he has a microphone inside of it and he puts the glass over the front so you can't see his face, and plays slide guitar. It's just the loudest strangest stuff you've ever heard. You don't understand one word he's saying. I like people who glue macaroni on to a piece of cardboard and paint it gold. That's what I aspire to basically."

The chances that his identity will be found in our lifetime are slim, but this one man, bass drum/slide guitar, band continues to mystify everyone who hears him play. As long as there are bars, Bob Log will be there ready to let a lady sit in his lap, or if they're lucky, allow them to slip a boob in his scotch."

That's the official bio. Dude is freaking hilarious and awesome. I put three of his albums together for all those times you need stomping shit drunk as shit music. Break out the whiskey for this.

Shit on my leg

Akron/Family-Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free (2009)

Lucky enough to stumble upon this baby last night. They are freaking awesome.

You know what to do...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Syd Barrett-The Madcap Laughs (1969)

"Wisely, The Madcap Laughs doesn't even try to sound like a consistent record. Half the album was recorded by Barrett's former bandmates Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour, and the other half by Harvest Records head Malcolm Jones. Surprisingly, Jones' tracks are song for song much stronger than the more-lauded Floyd entries. The opening "Terrapin" seems to go on three times as long as its five-minute length, creating a hypnotic effect through Barrett's simple, repetitive guitar figure and stream of consciousness lyrics. The much bouncier "Love You" sounds like a sunny little Carnaby Street pop song along the lines of an early Move single, complete with music hall piano, until the listener tries to parse the lyrics and realizes that they make no sense at all. The downright Kinksy"Here I Go" is in the same style, although it's both more lyrically direct and musically freaky, speeding up and slowing down seemingly at random. Like many of the "band" tracks, "Here I Go" is a Barrett solo performance with overdubs by Mike Ratledge, Hugh Hopper, and Robert Wyatt of the Soft Machine; the combination doesn't always particularly work, as the Softs' jazzy, improvisational style is hemmed in by having to follow Barrett's predetermined lead, so on several tracks, like "No Good Trying," they content themselves with simply making weird noises in the background. The solo tracks are what made the album's reputation, though, particularly the horrifying "Dark Globe," a first-person portrait of schizophrenia that's seemingly the most self-aware song this normally whimsical songwriter ever created. Honestly, however, the other solo tracks are the album's weakest tracks, with the exception of the plain gorgeous "Golden Hair," a musical setting of a James Joyce poem that's simply spellbinding. The album falls apart with the appalling "Feel." Frankly, the inclusion of false starts and studio chatter, not to mention some simply horrible off-key singing by Barrett, makes this already marginal track feel disgustingly exploitative. But for that misstep, however, The Madcap Laughs is a surprisingly effective record that holds up better than its "ooh, lookit the scary crazy person" reputation suggests. "

It's unfortunate that Syd Barrett gets overlooked all the time because his songs with Pink Floyd were awesome and while this record is uneven, Barrett just knew how to make captivating music regardless. So, as always, take a listen.

Hardy har har

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How Come Michael Phelps Can't Smoke Weed?

I just do not know why there's any fallout in the first place. He doesn't have to be America's golden boy, he is just the best swimmer ever. Michael Jordan had a gambling problem and had affairs with other women and nobody ever shat on him this hard. The cops in SC are talking about charging him...based on a photo... is that even legal? Like they would do this to anyone in a photo smoking weed. Why not just raid Facebook and charge everybody with a picture of smoking a bong? It's lame the sponsors care, it's lame the news and sports columnists care, it's lame that he's suddenly public enemy number one and he didn't cheat, kill anyone, get nabbed with something big like heroin or meth, steal, etc. What's he supposed to do, come home and train more? He's 23 years old and people suddenly are calling him out hard for this cause he drove drunk when he was 19. Ask any 23 year old out there if they have a) smoked weed and b)drove drunk many will give you the affirmitive. Just cause he's really good at swimming and some kid's role model doesn't mean he's not 23.

I am not even going to get into public attitudes towards smoking. It's not even worth it. I feel bad that Michael Phelps has to be the golden boy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sparklehorse-It's a Wonderful Life (2001)

Because I'm having a shitty day, here's some shitty day music.

Many thanks to Radiobutt over at

"Well, is it a wonderful life?

It's mighty suspicious when a melancholic figure like Mark Linkous, the creative force behind Sparklehorse, christens his third album It's A Wonderful Life. Thankfully, he hasn't abandoned his idiosyncratic brand of surreal Southern Gothic futurism to turn his frown upside down. Nor is he peddling cheap irony, as in "It's a wonderful life, wink wink, I want to kill myself, ha ha ha." As with many of the delights on this record, the meaning is much subtler.

The lyrics of the leadoff track do indeed declare life wonderful, but this statement is surrounded by baroque, hallucinatory images of ghostly bees, bloody roosters that fly like doves, and swamps filled with poisoned frogs. It seems that life is full of wonders, sadness, mixed blessings — sometimes dread — but it's a strange enough place that it's worth sticking around and exploring.

Life lacks some Sparklehorse staples. It's less stylistically eclectic than previous outings. It has a narrower dynamic range, less of a country-folk flavor, and no irresistible anthem co-penned by David Lowery ("Rainmaker" and "Sick Of Goodbyes" on the first and second records, respectively). Instead, It's A Wondeful Life is a cohesive, atmospheric listen that rides along on mid-tempo drum-machine grooves, layers of keyboards and strings and Linkous' brittle voice narrating his haunted ballads.

The mood is broken up in a few places, notably the scorching full-tilt rocker "King Of Nails" and the itchy plod-stomp of Tom Waits' cameo "Dog Door," which would find happier company on an actual Waits album. More felicitous contributions by Polly Jean Harvey and Cardigans chanteuse Nina Persson add harmony without diverting the path of the 'Horse.

The overall result is similar to an Eels album, with imagistic lyricism — skeleton kisses, diamond rain, babies on the sun — substituted for bittersweet vignettes and an air of mystery in place of cosmic punch lines. The songs' cinematic texture provides a soundtrack that seems to suspend the world around the listener in poignant slo-mo. Strange, sublime and beautiful, the wonders of Life reward patience and repeated listens."

Everything's so goddamn wonderful