Sunday, June 28, 2009

Les Claypool & the Holy Mackerel (1996)

I can't find a decent review for the life of me, especially since this seems to be one of his less popular side projects/Primus deviations. Either way, you probably have some conception of Les Claypool. No matter what album you buy, there will be some awesome funky bass playing, awkward Residents vocals, creepy backwoods storytelling, and any number of weirdo surprises. Ya know, Les' MO. This album has always been in constnt rotation along with his stuff with Primus. The only side work that holds a candle to it is Sausage. All I can really say is that you should get it. Clayppol has an assortment of skilled session players (Jason Lane from Ratdog, Charlie Hunter, Merv Haggard) and the music is awesome as always. I honestly can't figure out why more people don't like it. Anyway, I just kinda felt like posting this. 'Tis enjoyable.

Holy Mackerel!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sun City Girls-Torch of the Mystics (1990)

"Torch of the Mystics represents the pinnacle of the first phase of the Sun City Girls. A concise, pinwheeling album that captures the band's pure commitment to emotional transcendence through music, the 11 songs here fly off into the netherworld of ethnic avant-garage rock with startling clarity. The band had never fully explored the Middle Eastern tones accumulating in their brains as they did on this 1990 masterpiece, nor had they been as clearly and smartly recorded as they are here: guitarist Rick Bishop's tone slices, drummer Charlie Gocher is wider than he has ever been, and bassist Alan Bishop rumbles with an ominous ferocity. Songs like the pile-driving "Esoterica of Abyssynia" sound like your radio has leapt into a dreamy foreign astral plane of its own volition. "Space Prophet Dogon" is a dance of the seven veils as played by the freaked-out Mothers of Invention, while "Radar 1941" crash-lands in the middle of Egyptian Top 40 as imagined by "Count Five." Every track contains a shimmering melodic phrase or haunting undertone that the Girls mine like pure manna, and the occasional bursts of delirious chanting still summon goosebumps on the listener's skin. Every argument made for the greatness of the Sun City Girls has its roots in this platter, and if you have never understood what the fuss is all about or if you ever needed something to convince you of their (deservedly) sterling underground reputation, this is the original testament."

Wacky, weird, essential album right here. Listen to that riff in "Space Prophet Dogoban" and tell me its not spellbinding. Seriously. Mandatory as usual.

Torch it babeh

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Suni Mcgrath-Cornflower Suite (1969)

From the sadly defunct Grown So Ugly blog....

"Biography of Suni McGrath . . .1956 Suni starts guitar, including lessons . . . 1960 Gives first performance at talent show, about 300 in audience As a pioneer of fingerpicking, he begins to create the fingerpicking style . . . 1961 One of the first 12 string solo artists, WYSO radio has Suni McGrath play his fingerpicked solo 12 string on radio at Antioch College where he becomes friends with Ian Buchanan and others at “the Bakery” . . . 1962 In Detroit, McGrath is asked by Detroit Folklore Society to give first concert on his 12 string Gibson. Many in 2005 still remember this . . . 1963, He takes lessons with Rev. Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt. A record scout. hears Suni McGrath at Newport, R.I. Festival where he came up from Greenwich Village his regular playing area, and signs him to first recording contract on the Piedmont label, Mississippi John Hurt’s label . . . 1965 Suni invents, far-out odd-time rhythms fingerpicking results in tape sent to Folkways Records . . . 1968 Suni McGrath, rediscovered by new and different label, taken to east coast to record first issued album . . . 1971 He records the earliest version of the Celtic/Irish/modal (he is Irish ! ) “The Star of County Down”, . . . 1972 Suni McGrath’s records fantastically reviewed in many magazines, newspapers, and played on many radio stations nationwide. Nominee for “Guitarist of the Year” for his three albums: Cornflower Suite, The Call of the Mourning Dove, and Childgrove . . . 2001 McGrath is shown to his surprise, to be on the WWW Internet,~27 entries, among others,WFMU radio in New York often and repeatedly plays his work including his 12 minute symphonic masterpiece, “Cornflower Suite”, the Renaisance/classical style “Love Abides”, also, the earliest version of the Celtic/Irish/modal “The Star of County Down”, and the world famous flower power ‘60s style piece:“On the Riverpath She Waited” . . . 2005 Suni McGrath’s track called “Train Z” gets great reviews from critics and magazines such as BILLBOARD and MoJo (England). His 45 rpm “Seven Stars” does also."

Absolutely fantastic guitar playing. Any Fahey/Basho/James Blackshaw fans surely need to hear this for all the great melodies and techniques. What a find this was for me. Some of the most fantastic folk music I've ever heard.

Cornflower Suite

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mandatory Repost: Les Rallizes Denudes-Heavier Than A Death In The Family (Live 1973-77)

"You hear so much about something; then you actually hear it. More often than not, profound disappointment ensues, the let-down directly proportionate to the hype and anticipation preceding the initial encounter. That said, Les Rallizes Denudés live up to, and probably even exceed, their legend.

I'm reluctant to add to the reams already written about Rallizes, but what was captured here is too astonishing to ignore. Since the story has been told elsewhere, and with much greater authority than I can claim, I'll keep the history lesson brief.

Japan, 1967. Fresh-faced garage bands whose creeping Western psych-rock excesses were kept carefully in check with infusions of corporate cash dominated the musical scene. Guitarist/malcontent Mizutani defied this trend by basing his fearsome foursome Hadaka no Rallizes (or Les Rallizes Denudés) on the pastoral Kyoto University campus, far from the big-city studios and power centers of the so-called "Group Sounds" industry. Rallizes followed in the Velvet Underground's anti-commercial footsteps, attracting an entourage of artists, free thinkers, and student radicals. Playing amid mirrors and strobe lights, Rallizes became the focus of Exploding Plastic Inevitable-style performances, the petulant, black-clad Mizutani - commanding an outrageously overloaded guitar tone to match his imposing presence - an ever-rumbling thunderhead of musical disruption.

Mizutani's intense resentment of the studio system and solipsistic worldview made him a producer's nightmare, sabotaging the best of intentions on those few occasions when Rallizes were cornered or cajoled into a formal recording session. In the studio, the band's bristling electricity dissipated entirely, preserving a pale and lifeless revenant of Rallizes on record. Attempts to consign Rallizes' intangible essence to Super-8 film proved almost as futile. According to those fortunate enough to have experienced the real deal (among them a young Keiji Haino, Asahito Nanjo, and Makoto Kawabata), only certain live recordings were able to capture even a spark of the band's preternatural spirit. Not surprisingly, this has meant scant evidence by which to corroborate Rallizes' gargantuan reputation. Three double-album live documents in particular -Rallizes' side of the 'Oz Daysset, Live '73, and Live '77 - are so critical to the Rallizes legend that bootlegging them has become the backbone of several enduring cottage industries. Heavy as a Death in the Family is, in fact, merely the latest pirated incarnation of Live '77, better sounding than usual and re-sequenced to incorporate an orphaned 1973 recording,. I wish I could say that Heavy will be easier to track down than earlier Rallizes "releases," but the nature of the beast assures that this is not the case.

"Strong Out Deeper Than the Night" fills 15 minutes, but I suspect you'll be too entranced to keep count once the first minute and a half have elapsed. Nakamura Takeshi's trebly, vaporous rhythm chords, drummer Mikami Toshirou's sluggish semi-skank,and Mizutani's half-purr/half-yelp vocals are so swaddled in reverb as to seem reflected off a million mirrored surfaces. Without warning, Mizutani starts throwing charred guitar shapes that weld scathing feedback to pungently florid psychedelic strokes. Just imagine the effect combined with flashing lights and looking-glass walls! Only bassist Hiroshi abstains from excess, and his FX-free, devastatingly simple hook leads you in and out of Mizutani's maelstrom shaken but intact. Those are the ingredients, and they read well enough on paper. Yet actually hearing Rallizes thorough transmogrification of the basest of troglodyte Rock stomps is liable to snatch your breath as surely as a square kick to the solar plexus. You won't care how it was done or why it was done; just the proof that it can be done will be enough. And Rallizes do it again with the demolition doo-wop of "Night of the Assassins," a perverse delight wherein Skullflower stands by Ben E. King while Mizutani makes his feelings about those blasted Group Sounds unmistakable.

"The Night Collectors" pushes pop song to scandalous levels of distorted delirium where everything melts into a throbbing, hemorrhagic migraine. Two decades on, High Rise and Mainliner would "patent" this sound - not to mention Rallizes' magical combination of crippling distortion and cruddy fidelity - without really improving upon 1977's model. Sheer beautiful-noise overdrive of rarest pedigree, "The Night Collectors" points at a possibly unstated influence on Sonic Youth and their ecstatic kin. At the other extreme, the I-can't-believe-it's-not-Velvets exhibit "Enter the Mirror" tickles gently as a buttercup on the chin. Mizutani demonstrates a much lighter touch here, and he comes off just peachy. Shame about Hiroshi, though. The bassist seems utterly stymied by the pedestrian chord changes, and falls back on an ill-matched Loaded lilt. As Mizutani veers off into ever bolder and more spectacular Quicksilver-styled solo sprees, Hiroshi's bouncy bass line just sounds hopelessly lost. Whether it's deliberate dumb-brilliance or not, it hardly undermines the track's charming change of pace.

A complete 2CD bootleg of '77 Live is known to exist, but you want to seek out Heavy for "People Can Choose," a taste of Rallizes circa 1973 that ranks with the finest Krautrock of its era and attains a peak of exhilarating rock excess the Stooges would have surely recognized and applauded. Toshirou bashes the cymbals like a primal force unleashed. Mizutani and Takeshi drive the distortion further into the red than one might think possible. Hiroshi goes absolutely berserk, though the no-fi, umpteenth-generation recording plows him under the ruckus. If any ten minutes of recorded sound could be said to testify for the rawest, raunchiest thrills music has to offer, "People Can Choose" is a prime contender. A comprehensive "Funhouse"-style boxed set of alternate takes is most certainly in order and may be just what this world needs to set everything right again.

Heavy ends in the protracted Apocalypse of "Ice Fire." Mizutani's doomsday echo and the heavy, sulfurous stink of scorched earth mark Rallizes' passage into history, and I can't imagine anything following, or even surviving, in the wake. That outfits such as Haino's Fushitsusha, Kosokuya, and (to a lesser extent) Nanjo and Kawabata's Mainliner were later able to reclaim this obliterated terrain for their own flags verges on the miraculous - akin to perfume gardens springing from the salted soils of Carthage."

This band is just absolutely off the charts LOUD. They are so crazy and out of control. There would be absolutely no noisy/psychedelic movement in Japan like there is today without this band. They are that important and that good. Seriously. I can't help but gush about them. One of the members was a part of a militant communist plane hijacking in the early 1970s. Fucking nuts. Get it!

She's so heavy

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band-The Mirror Man Sessions (1967/1971/1999)

"Originally, Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band's second album was intended to be a double-album set called "It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper." Although 1968's Strictly Personal has the same artwork that was mooted for the double album, it's a single disc. As part of the same post-Trout Mask Replica closet-cleaning that led to Buddah (the parent company of Blue Thumb Records, which released Strictly Personal) reissuing Safe As Milk as Dropout Boogie in the U.K. in 1970, the label released Mirror Man, the second disc that was intended for the Plain Brown Wrapper release. Recorded in November 1967 (an odd misprint on the sleeve claims it was recorded in 1965, when the band barely existed), the four lengthy tracks on Mirror Man are even more simplistic and primal than those on Strictly Personal. All four are worthwhile, but the key tracks are "Tarotplane Blues," a free-form jam in which Beefheart jumbles together the lyrics of at least half a dozen blues standards into a stream-of-consciousness ramble (adding musette and harmonica for good measure) as the Magic Band vamps on a slide guitar-based, two-chord groove for over 19 minutes, and the similarly expansive "Mirror Man," one of the key tracks of Beefheart's entire career. Probably the catchiest tune Beefheart ever wrote, "Mirror Man" has an almost funky, hip-swaying groove, and there's a playful lightness to the way Beefheart chants the simplistic lyrics that prefigures the flights of fancy on Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals off, Baby. The remaining two tracks, "25th Century Quaker" and "Kandy Korn," are less essential but interesting enough. The revitalized and properly spelled Buddha Records reissued an expanded version of this album in 1999 as The Mirror Man Sessions, adding five alternate takes of songs that later appeared on Strictly Personal. "

Beefheart's output between his debut "Safe as Milk" (probably my favorite album and available HERE courtesy of Alex over at Glowing Raw-RECOMMENDED) and the landmark insanity of Trout Mask Replica causes mass confusion. When "It Comes to You in a Brown Paper Bag" was scrapped by the label, many of the tracks disappeared while some ended up on the subsequent album "Strictly Personal," which feature strange phaser effects that Beefheart did not want and were added without his knowledge. Which brings us back the Mirror Man sessions. Essentially, all tracks are the original "Brown Paper Bag" takes before some of the songs ended up on "Strictly Personal."And let me tell you, it's that fat blues production you would totally want it to have and not the thin weak-kneed phased out junk in comparison. All you need to know is that these are some grooving weirdo blues like only Captain Beefheart himself can deliver. His backing band is amazing. Great fucking record.

Mirror Man!

Monday, June 22, 2009

MF Doom-Operation Doomsday (1999)

HIP HOP CLASSIC ALERT-I don't listen to tons of hip hop or anything but if you don't either or think you hate rap, this guy is the man regardless. What!?

"I was browsing for some new emcees to check out and I came across a man named MF Doom. Rhapsody claimed his sound included elements of Ghostface and RJD2, two of my favorites in the Hip Hop genre, but that wasn’t what appealed to me most. It was MF Doom’s face or rather lack of a face. You see, he wears a Doctor Doom mask, fellow comic book subscribers (or people who went to the movie to see Jessica Alba in a skintight super hero outfit) will know that Doctor Doom is the main villain in the Fantastic Four series. Well, I listened to a couple tracks and was instantly in love with Doom’s mellow, fast raps and relaxing beats and samples. Needless to say I went out and picked up his debut, Operation Doomsday and you are now reading what I think of it.

Operation introduced a fraction of the world to MF Doom’s clever lyricism and classic sounding beats. Unfortunately a large of fraction of the world has not been properly introduced to Doom. That is one of the main goals of this review.

Doom’s voice is one of the best parts about his sound. His voice soothes the soul while it blasts rhymes at about 100 words a minute. Second track Rhymes Like Dimes is a perfect example of this. A soft psychedelic organ sample is looped throughout the song over a fairly standard drum beat. Rhymes like Dimes features some great lyrics.[i] Joker rhymes, like the "Is you just happy to see me?" trick/Classical slap-stick rappers need Chap stick/A lot of 'em sound like they in a talent show/So I give 'em something to remember, like the Alamo.[i] The vocal production sounds like Doom is a DJ on a radio, this seems cool at first but soon begins to get quite annoying. If you can overlook that (or like it) then this is a great song.

One of my biggest problems with Operation Doomsday is the similarities between some tracks. A good portion of the album the beats in these songs always consists of bass, a Fender Rhoades style organ riff and a fairly standard drum beat. The first few songs that fit this mold, Doomsday, Go With the Flow, etc are refreshing and awesome but the formula gets a little annoying when you are listening to the entire record. One good part about similarities between some tracks is the other tracks sound so refreshing Tick, Tick is a great example of this. Tick, Tick’s beat features a fairly sinister wouldn’t be out of place in an late 20’s movie string sample and a drum part that changes tempo every once in a while. Doom’s rapping is great. He isn’t exactly rapping 100 words a minute like Twista but his slower raps get the job done. My only problem with the song is the slowing down/speeding up of the beat can get annoying, but Doom’s clever lyrics save the track. My mind is Heaven's gate so enter me (enter me)/ My mind is the gate ta Hell so try ta flee (try ta flee)/Both gates look da same, which will it be.
Noise, reduced, MF thinks in Dolby/Chop that *** in half like Obi Wan Kenobi/Greatest of all time, God straight up told me/Greatest of all time, the Devil even told me.

Don’t get me wrong even the tracks with slightly samey beats can be amazing. Doomsday features samples of a 60’s electric piano, a girl singing light melodies and of course the obligatory bass and drums. None of these samples are the main focus of this song though. Doom’s rapping is stellar, as close to perfect as I have come upon in my short career as a Hip-Hop fan. Fiddy, Luda and The Game should be ashamed to call what they do rapping after hearing this. Something about Doom’s voice is so appealing, like he’s whispering the rhymes in your ears. An incredible song even if the beat sounds like about a third of this CD.

Every metal album back in the 80’s had to have the ballad. This album features it’s own ballad as well. Red & Gold holds up the ballad spot in this LP. Possibly the most complex beat on the album, R&G’s beat features multiple string samples, bass, electric piano, huge sounding drums, female vocals and even some Indian musical instruments. Doom’s vocals are amazing on this track. He uses his perfect rap voice to bring you lines like No science-fiction to no theater near you, coming soon to/**** with you frequently like how phases of the moon would do/You could gather 'round like it was an eclipse/Just don't look directly to the bitch, you may be blinded by the crips. Quite possibly the best song on the CD.

Operation is full of odd little “Skits”. These skits feature a man talking about a person named Doom in a voice not out of place in an early 40’s movie. The beats that accompany these skits are great. Unlike Eminem’s skits Doom actually creates fairly cool electronica breaks in between his raps. Unfortunately the album features 4 or 5 of these bits which can get quite annoying.

Possibly the most amazing thing about this album is that Doom writes, raps and produces his own stuff. So when you listen to this you don’t hear Doom’s voice over 5 producer’s beats rapping 8 other writer’s songs. All you hear is MF Doom. He’s great at everything too, unlike other rappers who attempt to do everything late in their career cougheminemcough and fail. Doom is great at everything.

Not only is MF Doom a great producer/rapper/lyricist plain and simple, he also is one of the best collaborators in the rap biz. He has collaborated with everyone from Gorillaz (His rap on November Has Come [Demon Days] turned me onto Doom in the first place) to his most recent collaboration, with DJ Danger Mouse (Producer of Demon Days and The Grey Album) under the name DangerDoom. Doom also collaborates on this album, on tracks Who You Think I Am? A barrage of guest MCs throw down over a Doom created beat featuring a flute.

The album ends as it begins on a high note. During the last streak of 5 or so real tracks there isn’t a bad song. Of course there is hardly a bad song on the album."


Red Red Meat-Jimmywine Majestic (1994)

"This Chicago, Illinois, USA-based quartet forged a healthy mix of lo-fi and blues rock over the space of a chaotic seven-year recording career during the 90s, in marked contrast to the alt pop direction of many of their contemporaries. Led from the beginning by vocalist/guitar player Tim Rutili, the band's roots lay in a previous Chicago-based outfit, Friends Of Betty. When the band's second drummer left, Rutili and the others (bass player Glynis Johnson, guitarist Glenn Girard, and drummer Ben Massarella) immediately launched Red Red Meat, in 1990. Although there was some line-up tweaking along the way, with Massarella replaced by Brian Deck, Red Red Meat quickly built a local buzz, which led to a recording contract with the hip indie label, Sub Pop Records. What should have been a happy time for the band was one of uncertainty, as Johnson was diagnosed with AIDS around this time, and died in 1992 (friends of the band, the Smashing Pumpkins, penned a tribute song, "Glynis', to Johnson a year later). Rutili decided to keep the band going, with Tim Hurley replacing Johnson in the line-up, as their self-titled debut followed the same year. Red Red Meat's follow-up, Jimmywine Majestic, proved that the band had studied their early 70s Rolling Stones albums thoroughly, and went on to be widely considered their finest recording. Massarella returned to the line-up and Neil Rosario replaced Girard. Two further releases followed during the mid- to late 90s, 1995's Bunny Gets Paid and 1997"s There's A Star Above The Manger Tonight, but neither succeeded in expanding their audience beyond a small but dedicated cult, and Red Red Meat quietly disbanded shortly after. Rutili concentrated on his own indie imprint, Perishable, and often guests/produces other artists for the label. He also began recording with a new band, Califone."

Great album by a very overlooked band. One of the Sub Pop bands that somehow never got the exposure or the credit they deserved...I'll post some Califone here too, I love these bands.

Drink that jimmywine

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Circle-Andexelt (1999)

A surprisingly passionate, intelligent, (kind of) well written review from Pitchfork...albeit 7 years ago. Nevertheless, this dude seems to get it:

"Nothing brings me to crummy stripmalls swifter than crummy used CD marts. I love their $1 bins. I love the dusty stench that manages to conquer the reek of the fried-chicken place next door and wards off all but the most determined diggers. But more than anything, I love these bins because I've discovered so many great records in them. One such gem is Circle's Andexelt. Before Thursday afternoon I knew nothing of this Finnish band, but by the typography that reminded me of Brothomstates' Claro and the mechanized body-part photography that occupies the lowest sixth of the cover, I knew I should punt my buck.

After a thirty-minute metro ride home and enough time to brew a pot of coffee, I was ready to try out Andexelt. I'd lined up other discs just in case it, in fact, turned out to be Scandinavian doom metal or a cunning front for an area smooth jazz combo. I needn't have bothered. Andexelt is still in my CD tray days later. The album is pure krautrock and it is the most invigorating collection I've heard since a French Canadian called Charles-Émile sent me his debut album, Nothing Down to Earth.

Circle, I googled, are a five-piece who since 1991 have been astounding those just south of the Arctic Circle with their muscular explorations of space, time, and the pan-dimensional mega-riff. Andexelt is their seventh full-length, and you need to hear it often. The record voyages to the same places as Les MacCann's Layers, but takes a different route. Grafting Neu!'s motorik percussion, Berlin-era Bowie synths to Robbie Shakespeare's dubby basslines and riding a guitar wave that recalls Black Sabbath and Michael Karoli, Andexelt surpasses Brainticket's Adventure, and equals Can's Future Days in loaded grace.

If this band were well-known, the Chemical Brothers would have already sampled Janne Peltomäki's rhythm-salvo of the opening title track, and music critics at large would already have acknowledged Circle's ferocity. The band's guitarist, Teemu Elo, unloads a double-barreled reverb riff straight in your face, and while you're busy searching for bits of your head, frontman Jussi Lehtisalo's analog synth enters, intent on slicing to ribbons any sounds that cross its path. Fortunately, it's hard labor cutting away at Peltomäki's resilient groove. Elo and Lehtisalo form a cluster-bombing alliance against him, but the man relentlessly motoriks on.

For "Odultept," the band jumps on the Fender Rhodes space-jazz and bolsters their move by allowing bassist J. Laiho to showcase his fits-and-starts dub-bass abilities. Guest T. Huunonen gives up a galactic flute solo after an explosion of ARP synths and the band decides to take a tour round the interstellar medium. "20Milate" is an Arkestral reworking of My Bloody Valentine's "You Made Me Realize" whereas "Lisääpui" mines the same Stooges treasury that Julian Cope's Brain Donor project did, except Circle got there first and stole the heavenly guitar line that Agitation Free's liquid-harmony guitarist Lutz Ulbrich had left behind. "Humusaar" emerges from a doomy bass ground into a receding, FX-spattered star-field. And the brooding, numinous closer, "Kidulgos," proves that Circle have processed Tangerine Dream's nebulous Zeit as well as the third-eye mantra of Electronic Meditation.

Andexelt is astounding, no two ways about it."

This is a great rhythmic, psychedelic, rocking piece of work right here. By far one of the best and most consistent bands over the last 15 years. Every single record is listenable and fun, if not completely awesome. And this one is by far the best.

So join the Circle

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Quintron-Jamskate (2007)

"Jay Poggi, aka Mr. Quintron, is the core of the musical train wreck experience that is Quintron. The Quintron name was apparently appropriated from the company for which his father worked as an electrical engineer.

Mr. Quintron plays the organ.
Mr. Quintron plays the drums.
Mr. Quintron plays the guitar.
Mr. Quintron plays various wind instruments.
Mr. Quintron plays things that nobody else has ever heard of which are usually of his own design, including:

  • The Spit Machine - an electronic drum trigger activated by saliva.
  • The Disco Light Machine - not really an instrument so much as a "sonic visualizer" for drums.
  • The Drum Buddy - a theremin-esque device which triggers drum and synthesizer sounds when the light provided by a dangling incandescent bulb is interrupted by hand or by a rotating, perforated cylinder.

Science doesn't get any mo' madder than this. You can buy one of these babies for only $999.99!

Imagine the result of Jerry Lee Lewis romancing Judy Tenuta who then gives birth to a shrieking fireball of thumping, organ-ic, booty shaking fury. Now you're getting close to the groove. Mr. Quintron is often accompanied by his wife, Miss Pussycat, who will shake her maracas like the beat was a clingy spider and screech like Kate Pierson with a hot poker on her ass. She also produces puppet shows and makes her own costumes. Bully for her!

Much like Tool, Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat often appear to be completely full of shit. When cornered by an interviewer (which is rare for Quintron's hatred of the press is legendary) they often claim that they are first cousins, that Mr. Quintron is actually a paraplegic due to a freak rollercoaster accident and the like. I'll take my Quintron with a twist of lime and pinch of salt.

In previous incarnations, Mr. Quintron has been a member of Idol Chatter and Math. Quintron has produced music with Skin Graft Records, Bulb Records, and Rhinestone Records. He has also collaborated with The Oblivians and Ernie K-Doe. Miss Pussycat's puppet band, Flossie and the Unicorns can be found in New Orleans, Louisiana at Pussycat Caverns on St. Claude."

Swamp boogie!

sorry about it skipping a little...not my rip I'm afraid


Friday, June 12, 2009

Zoltar's Playlist...Vol. I

No real theme here, just either songs I have been listening to lately or songs I always like showing/playing for people. There will surely be more of these to come. I threw the playlist file in there so hopefully you all can listen to it in the order I intended on Itunes or even some other Nazi music program (it's the disc jockey/playlist nerd in me). But nevertheless, these are some choice tunes for certain and I'll throw a little note next to each one. It's the disc jockey playlist...wait...

Title Artist

1. The Peppermint Tree-The Amorphous Androgynous (cool psych tune, 60s like Pink Floyd vs Flaming Lips)

2. Nowhere to Run-Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (good ole fashioned soul music)

3. Aquarian Time-Wooden Shjips (doing what they do...always awesome garage/psych)

4. Mr. Grieves-The Pixies (classicly demented)

5. Red Tuesday-Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve (so blissful and warm...)

6. Liquid Memoryman-The Oscillation (GROOVE)

7. Canned Happiness-MV/EE & the Bummer Road (hazy, squinty eyed rock music...good thing)

8. Echohead-Big Blood (they are incredible...almost a Pixies-like lead)

9. America's Most Blunted-Madvillain ft. Quasimoto (such an awesom beat)

10. Wanyama Na Mapambazuko-Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalo (those riffs!)

11. Ashes Round the Skull-The Blue Angel Lounge (mind blowing VU styled rock)

12. Juggernaut-Black Pus (the drummer from Lightning Bolt...madness)

13. Trouble Everywhere I Go (Alt version)-Mississippi Fred McDowell (masterful)

14. Gimme Some Truth-John Lennon (money for dope! money for rope!)

15. Ant 10-Boredoms (indescribable, a ryhthmic psych techno monster thing type song ma jig)

16. Ride My High (Joakim Edit)-JJ Cale (tasteful sleaziness? more groooooove)

17. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere-Neil Young & Crazy Horse (come on, it's Neil Young!)

18. Friends-Ducktails (summer drones, very nice and peaceful)

19. Sweet Premium Wine-KMD (sadly underappreciated early 90s group)

20. Turtles Have Short Legs (B Side)-Can (so happy! great beat as always)

Tell me if you like this format better than whole albums. Or if you like whole albums. Or both. Whichever the minions prefer eh? And if you guys wanna comment, I promise I'll answer (since I discovered some unanswered comments from March today....). I would love the feedback, requests, etc. You know, the whole shindig. It's good to know more and more people come here. So let's keep it up? I'll post as long as ya'll listen. Thanks again to you all.

Playlist Vol. 1

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Faust-IV (1974)

"Faust IV is the album where Faust consolidate all of the myriad soundworlds of their previous three records into one. The abstraction of 'Faust', the rhythmic cohesion of 'So Far' and the cut-and-paste heroics of 'The Faust Tapes' are here combined into a diverse collection of pieces and songs that encapsulate all that is special and unique about this most distinctive and innovative band. Easy listening it isn't, yet there is a strange and compelling accessibility and inevitability about this album that will attract the attention of even the most conservative listener, at least in part. Like it's budget-priced predecessor, 'Faust IV' was and is a key record in my realisation and appreciation of pop music beyond its commercialised forebears. But it's taken its time, a long, long time, to hit me.

I wonder how many early owners of 'Faust IV' did as I did and 'The Sad Skinhead' aside, ignored the well-weird (or so it seemed at the time) first side in favour of the comparatively conventional second side. I've now come to love side one to distraction, but still prefer to listen to the album in reverse order. Side two begins with Faust as hard rock behemoths: 'Just A Second' being a short, heavy-as-sin instrumental that sounds like Sabbath, Ash Ra Tempel and the Grateful Dead all melted into one and with treble set to eleven. But any hopes of winning over prospective buyers from the Ozzy fanbase are soon allayed by the free-form 'Picnic On A Frozen River, Deuxieme Tableau' that follows: a short but attention-grabbing piece that helps prevent any impression of a straight-ahead rock band. 'Giggy Smile' is a nearest Faust get to just that: a two-stage rock epic with manic rising and falling vocal scales over Bolanesque tinny axework in the first part, and the best Yazoo keyboard lick that Vince Clarke never wrote in the second. 'Lauft...Heist das es lauft Oder es Kommt Bald...Lauft' is, in total contrast, basically a delightful vignette in the same mode as that consolidatory French-language acoustic piece that ends 'The Faust Tapes', only this time jauntier, more rhythmic and utterly irresistable, falling into a still, droning synth and harmonium phase that sounds like a cosmic collaboration between Klaus Schulze and Ivor Cutler. The side's final track, 'It's A Bit Of A Pain', is an endearing ditty (in the manner of 'Unhalfbricking'-era Fairports) whose release as a 45 seems a sound enough choice until the most jarring and dischordant sustained note, mixed at a higher volume than the rest of the song, wails over the "...But it's alright babe" chorus. The effect is unwelcome, disturbing, and in the last resort incredible. Play this as the background for seduction and see how far you get. A song for loners!

Which brings us (in my own perverse order) to side one, track one, and the twelve demanding minutes of 'Krautrock', the album's apex. It's taken me best part of three decades to get it, but now that I have, it's the first Faust track I'd play to anyone. It's a racket almost beyond words, but totally compelling. I'm convinced that Lou Reed must have heard this before he set to work on 'Metal Machine Music'. The same high frequency guitar tone, in-your-face feedback, and rhythms that are so mixed down in the mellee that they have to be imagined (at least until the drums come in two-thirds through - and what a moment THAT is) permeate the piece. Play this at full volume through headphones and you simply become at one with it. You'll have one hell of a headache but one hell of a high. Sheer, unadulterated power with no tune and no compromise - perfect.

The song that follows is simply not on the same planet, and I don't know of any successive tracks on any album that differ as much as 'Krautrock' and this one. Nearer to 'The Pushbike Song' than cosmic music, 'The Sad Skinhead' is the single that never was. It would have been a wow at school discos in 1973, especially the raucous fight scenes that accompany the vibe-driven middle section. It's as crass as The Pipkins and as catchy as mumps and I love it.

'Jennifer' is dirge-like, hypnotic and spacey with Donovan-like vocals over an incongruous and repetative bass rhythm that sounds like the lick at the beginning of Floyd's 'One Of These Days'. It's a beautiful song that builds slowly until the sheer glass guitar noise that began 'Krautrock' twenty minutes earlier takes over, only to end with an amusingly out-of-place stride piano. Diverse, distracting and delectable."

Not the most popular Faust release but one of the more accessible and enjoyable for certain. I have been humping this album lately, especially for "Jennifer." That's really not supposed to come off any particular way. But yeah. Ch-ch-check it!

In other news, first Zoltar playlist coming warned...

It beckons....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Aluk Todolo-S/T (2006) & Descension (2007)

Aluk Todolo (2006)

"Holy fuck, this record is amazing! You'd never guess it, but Aluk Todolo is the occult trance rock side project of French black metallers Diamatregon. OK, maybe it doesn't seem that off the wall, Diamatregon definitely dabbled in strange rhythms and distinctly non-black metal sound forms. But this is definitely something else altogether. Ominous krautrock rhythms over Einsterzende style industrial clatter, some lost seventies psych rock holy grail channeled through modern post rock. Dreamy and dark and mesmerizing. Hypnotic guitar lines and simple shuffling rhythms that build into clattery propulsive jams, all clanging angular riffs and dense tangled drumming. VERY This Heat like, and reminiscent of the late great Laddio Bolocko. Some sort of dangerous and mysterious postrock / krautrock hybrid, lo-fi but thick and dense and amazingly heavy."- Aquarius Records (aQ)

Descension (2007)

"this trio, just guitar, bass and drums, are most definitely alchemists, working some sort of ancient magic, turning the simplest of rock band instrumentation, into something massive and mysterious, heavy and haunting, brutal and mesmerizing, repetitive and motorik. Crafting songs, that manage to be both pieces, in the classical sense, abstract and intellectual collections and arrangements of sound, subtle shadings, tonal color and timbre, harmony and dissonance, and SONGS, in the rock sense, fucking kick ass jams, that seem to go on forever, killer riffs, and relentless head nodding rhythms, like krautrock, only heavier and darker and way way blacker. Like black metal but without all the buzz and howl, stripped down to its very essence, to just mood and rhythm, ambience and propulsion.
In the review of the previous 7" we described the band's sound as: Ominous krautrock rhythms over Einsterzende style industrial clatter, some lost seventies psych rock holy grail channeled through modern post rock. Dreamy and dark and mesmerizing. Hypnotic guitar lines and simple shuffling rhythms that build into clattery propulsive jams, all clanging angular riffs and dense tangled drumming. VERY This Heat like, and reminiscent of the late great Laddio Bolocko. Some sort of dangerous and mysterious postrock / krautrock hybrid, lo-fi but thick and dense and amazingly heavy.
And the full length essentially still sounds like that, but having loosed themselves from the shackles of the way too brief 7" format, the band can take all those elements, and lay them out, an epic massive post rock, krautrock, dronerock, experimental post black metal sprawl. These are the kinds of songs and sounds that need space, and time, need to lull the listener in, to entrance, ensorcel, the rhythms are stripped down and repetitive, looped and hypnotic, simple, but surprisingly and subtly complex at the same time. It's not hard to hear other hypno rockers in Aluk Todolo's sound, Circle, Salvatore and the like, but also space rock masters of repetition, Hawkwind, The Heads, and of course krautrock legends Can and Faust. Especially Can, with their focus on the power of the rhythm, no mater how seemingly simple or plain. But more than anything, it's legendary UK experimentalists This Heat whose, haunting mysterious rhythmic influence is all over Descension.
The opening track is the heaviest, a brutal slab of in the red distorted riffage, the actual riffs barely discernible, more like a heaving mass of crumbling distortion and space rock FX, but the rhythms that frame the whole record are already in place, pounding steadily beneath the buzz and skree. A head nodding pulse underpinning the swirling distorted clouds above. A bracing and white hot burst of blackdronekrautpsych that has the speakers rattling for all of its 8+ minutes.
But that track mostly serves as an intro to the complex and moody rhythmic sprawl that makes up the other three tracks. "Burial Ground" begins with what sounds like a slowed down This Heat rhythm track synched up to the free abstract drift of legendary seventies dronepsych collective Taj Mahal Travellers. The drums unwavering, but the background constantly in flux, swaths of black buzz, brief flurries of chaotic FX, distant low end swells, haunting fragmented melodies, a gorgeous spare kraut rock jam dropped into the abyss.
"Woodchurch" is a dense wall of high end buzz, all swirling distorted hum and keening feedback, tones all tangled up, a chordal wash of tuned vacuum cleaners, a sort of Sunroof! Style urdrone, but beneath it, the simplest of bass lines, distorted and downtuned, a heartbeat like throb, only a handful of notes, just enough to tie into the even simpler drum part, just kick drum and snare, a two step tattoo, as completely mesmerizing as it us utterly simple. The background buzz, swaying and pulsing, like some massive black sea, or clouds of insects ravaging a blighted sonic landscape.
The disc closes with "Disease" which opens with an ultra heavy slide guitar, unfurling a slow motion blues riff, caked in black buzz and thick distortion, the notes left to hang, ringing out until the tones slowly transform into feedback, immediately being swallowed up by the riff right behind it. It's like Robert Johnson playing SUNNO))), and then suddenly, the sound shifts, and the band reverts to its murky trawl, a thick throbbing bass line, another Can like rhythm, guitars warm and warbly, more like a layer of wet fuzz than distinct riffing, but occasionally, bits of that opening salvo return, offering up brief blasts of speaker destroying crunch, or brief bits of grinding buzz, a sudden start that almost, but doesn't quite wake you from your soporific reverie. Near the end, the distorted slide guitar returns, and drums drop out, and the track finishes with a thick coda of pealing guitar roar and shimmering chordal droneŠ
Intense and hypnotic and heavy and fucking genius. Ritualistic sounds, both black and brilliant, pulled from the void, a mysterious and sonic netherworld. Definite contender for record of the year. "

Um, black metal krautrock? Count me in! These are some absolutely awesome atmospheric pieces of work. Terrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time, Aluk Todolo is keeping both metal and psych fresh with these records. The new album "Finsternis" just came out, look out for it! Get these, damn it!

Aluk Todolo

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Scientist-Rids the World of the Curse of the Vampires (1981)...Awesome Dub!!!

I'll be completely honest in that I don't know much about Reggae, Dub, and the related genres. I know some heavy hitters and that's about it. I was bored one day and stumbled upon this album on the Glowing Raw (one of the best music blogs out there, you all must visit...that dude has gotten me into a shit ton of music). So I figured that I would give this a shot since he said it got him into Dub. And holy balls. Slow, bumping grooves, echo, delay and reverb everywhere, a cornucopia of stoned out noise with the beautiful warble of roots music in the background. This has been my choice lounge record of late since I am mostly sitting around getting stoned in absence of a real job. Cool for cruising too. I know this isn't a real review. Thanks to Alex over at Glowing Raw for this choice cut. Recommended.


"After a stint learning the dub craft from innovator King Tubby in the late '70s, Scientist began mixing his own sessions, coming up with a more wide-ranging and effects-riddled sound than that of his mentor. One of a handful of choice Scientist albums on the Greensleeves label, Rids the World of the Curse of the Vampires (1981) not only ably displays the mix masters varied approach, but clocks in as one of his best outings. While Scientist heeds Tubby's minimalist call with "strictly drum and bass" cuts like "Night of the Living Dead" -- spotlighting tightly wound guitar and organ chords for body -- he also expands things with a sunny mix of horns and bubbly keyboards on "The Mummy's Shroud" (as hard as it is to imagine sunshine with a ghoulish title such as this). Even without horns, Scientist keeps things lively with plenty of reverb and echo-treated percussion, ghostly piano parts, video game sound effects, and other various wobbly interjections from the mixing board. Pointing to his originality, Scientist doesn't just apply a few tweaks here and there, but heavily reworks the basic tracks -- here laid down by the fine Roots Radics band and produced by Henry "Junjo" Lawes (Don Carlos, Frankie Paul) -- then deftly integrates his panoply of effects into the cut-up mix. And adding to the record's expert evocation of the Halloween spirit are some fiendishly voiced intros, the cover art's cartoon potpourri of horror film characters, and the dubious claim made in the liner notes that Scientist mixed it all at midnight on Friday the 13th (reach for the flashlights kids). Along with Keith Hundson's Pick a Dub and Lee Perry's Blackboard Jungle Dub, this excellent Scientist release is one of the essential dub albums available."

And tell me if you want more of this, you sweaty rogues, you. I have more. It's all excellent.