Friday, July 30, 2010

Live At The Purple Onion (Audio Track) - (2007)

Zach Galifianakis started his so-called career in back of a hamburger joint in New York. Well-known and loved by the Comedy Central crowd, he is one of the Comedians of Comedy, played director Alan Finger in the series Dog Bites Man and wowed the critics with his acclaimed VH1 show, Late World With Zach. A master of the one-liner, rivaling Steven Wright, with an absurd rambling style reminiscent of Andy Kaufman, Zach s sharp, resonating humor makes his show at the famed Purple Onion in San Francisco one of the funniest performances in recent comedy. Off-stage, you will meet Seth Galifianakis, Zach s twin brother. In an emotional interview with Brian Unger, he sheds some light on his brother Zach, revealing how he came to be who he is today. This posting features only the audio track taken from the DVD.

Gaame - (2007)

A heavenly choir overrun by space insects, a missionary church bell dragged off by African tribesmen, John Lydon leading a Santeria sacrifice, a thunder storm, an arcade game shot into outer space, a shamanistic hip-hop festival, a Native American gang war, a toytown parade led by a shouting punk — and that's just the first four untitled tracks of Aa's Gaame. After that it gets really bizarre. One can just make out the group's precursors and influences: PiL, the Slits, the Pop Group, and in the case of bits of track seven, Bow Wow Wow's "C-30, C-60, C-90 Go!" (well, sort of). Hey, you've got to stretch a bit to make sense of this. Tribal and hip-hop rhythms, yips and incoherent vocals, edgy electronic experimentation, trumpeting elephants, a twist of reggae, Aa never stay still, pulsing through genres, pattering through styles: every time you think you've got a piece pinned down, it squirms off into something else. On track 11, you might even think you've heard an homage to Jade Warrior (google them), except for that buzzing industrial insect and landing spaceship towards the end. Track 13 storms further into prog rock, then suddenly skitters off into avant-garde experimentation before tumbling into synth-pop techno and back again into utter weirdness. It's difficult to explain but mesmerizing to hear, as the band stretch and turn, pump up the rhythm then pause, flick out a touch of melody and switch on the weird effects. (

Thursday, July 29, 2010

*** 7" SINGLE ***
Someday You'll Be King / White Night - (1980)

Freudian Slips EP - (2010)

The debut EP from New Jersey's Big Troubles displays the duo at their most raw, crafting instantly catchy songs and covering them with distortion and reverb. The songs on this EP were some of the first the band recorded during the summer of 2009 in their basement, surrounded by guitars, a multitude of pedals, a drum machine, and a 4-track. Leading off with an alternate version of "Freudian Slips," this EP is bound to please fans of the current lo-fi wave as well as those who are old enough to remember the first generation of shoegaze bands.

Alone - (2010)

Kites Sail High so far has revealed a cool and temperate electronic/sampling vibe. The lo-fi, nostalgic, and dreamlike quality of his music is pleasant to one’s imagination. This release titled “Alone” begins as a mesh of illusory images that draw themselves out on a fresh canvas. The listener is enveloped in an emptiness of space soon filled with an open richness of patterns and shapes. The first track “Untitled” begins with a meditational pulsing and addictive beat, accompanied by a steady bass. The buzzing warm drones of organ and warping high melodies catch you in the web of fantasy. “Alone” takes you on a thoughtful journey, from encounters with the outside world to being indoors “Daydreaming At School”. The end track “Sunrise At The Duck Pond” leaves you on an inspiring note. Uplifting stringed notes set you free and release you from the grasp of the music. Kites Sail High politely gives you the freedom to jump right back into the dream world or return to a different state of mind of your choosing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Interim EP - (1993)

In the early '90s, no one could accuse Einstürzende Neubauten of being musically stagnant. The German industrial pioneers had evolved considerably since the early '80s, and Interim (which was recorded in 1991 and 1992 and released in 1993) is hardly a carbon copy of the band's earlier releases. By mainstream pop/rock standards, this five-track EP is more accessible than the Einstürzende Neubauten of ten years earlier. The band that gave listeners 1981's Kollaps was a hardcore industrial outfit; the Mark Chung/N.U. Unruh/Alexander Hacke/Blixa Bargeld/F.M. Einheit lineup heard on Interim combines industrial elements with a relatively melodic, if skewed, post-punk/alternative rock outlook. "Salamandrina" is more eerie than abrasive, while two versions of "The Interimlovers" (one in English, the other in German) are more Depeche Mode than Throbbing Gristle. And even the dark, ominous "3 Thoughts" isn't as abrasive and forceful as some of the group's early stuff. Inevitably, some of the longtime fans who heard this EP missed the Einstürzende Neubauten of the early '80s and longed for the days of Kollaps and Zeichnungen des Patienten O.T. But that doesn't mean that Interim is without merit — only that the EP is undeniably different from the more noisy recordings that Einstürzende provided in the beginning. Interim isn't among the group's essential releases, and it isn't recommended to those who fancy themselves industrial purists. Nonetheless, it's still a decent, respectable effort that fans of Einstürzende's '90s work will enjoy. (

Fatal/Error - (2007)

So what exactly would happen if Page Hamilton of Helmet found a way to join Black Sabbath in the early 70's? The answer could be Fatal/Error, the dynamic sophmore release from Madison's Droids Attack. Delving into heavier and epic territory as the metal trio has grown into a mighty sonic levithan. It's a simple, time-honored premise, and it sort of relates to the music within. Droids Attack borrows from Clutch's Transnational Speedway, The Melvins' Houdini/Stoner Witch/Stag trifecta, and the get-up-and-go boogie of Hognose or Lamont. To their credit, they do more than just shellac those sounds and call them their own. There's something awesome the way opener "The Lord" keeps tacking on new, killer riffs, the way "Steven Seagal" makes me want to run around kicking things, and the way "Malachai Crunch" reminds me that I need to go buy more beer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

20 All Time Greatest Hits - (1991)

While Brown's 30-track, 40-track, and even 50-track collections are excellent choices as well, this fine hits package is the best one for Brown neophytes looking for a way in. Covering his prime stretch from the late '50s through the early '70s, 20 All-Time Greatest Hits! includes early R&B milestones ("Please, Please, Please"), epochal '60s sides ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1"), and latter-day funk classics ("Papa Don't Take No Mess, Pt. 1"). And that's not to mention such perennials as "Mother Popcorn," "Hot Pants," "Cold Sweat," and "Think." Start your Brown obsession here.

Undercurrent - (1960)

Kenny Drew's seventh recording as a leader is significant for many reasons, not the least of which that it is one of the finest Blue Note hard bop statements in either of their catalogs. Teamed with rising young star, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and the wonderful tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley fresh off stints with Donald Byrd and Art Blakey, Drew is joining the ranks of the premier mainstream jazz pianists just prior to moving permanently to Europe. He's a complementary piece of the puzzle as a player, but stirs the drink as the composer of all of these very fine hard bop vehicles. Bassist Sam Jones and especially drummer Louis Hayes contribute mightily to the beats that keep Hubbard and Mobley flying on this recording, whose energy runs contrary to the more subtle, suggestive title. The band is roaring out of the gate on the title track in a Blakey-like stance, where Drew's rambling piano fortifies the under-the-surface horns. There's no messing around during the straight-ahead, fleet "Lion's Den," as the steady Hayes drives the combo, and Jones masterfully commands held tension-and-release segments. Toning it down into the blues spectrum, "Funk-Cosity" offers a beautiful melodic line where the identity might be typical, but the individualism of the performers is not. There's deft unison playing between the very compatible Hubbard and Mobley during the simplified "Groovin' the Blues," and even more pronounced on the ultra-melodic "The Pot's On," a gem of a tune that swings with a religious fervor via the adept drumming of Hayes. The lone downtempo track, "Ballade," is a real beauty as the trumpeter and tenor saxophonist wax poetic, but it is Drew whose cascading piano and deeply emotional romantic forays come across symphonically, like a young Erroll Garner. This is an extraordinary recording that reveals more upon repeat listenings. One does wish there was alternate or bonus material from this fine jazz band, but as is, it's the best of Drew as a leader aside from his quintessential work as a consummate sideman. (

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Electriclarryland - (1996)

On Electriclarryland, their second major-label album, the Butthole Surfers continue the streamlined direction they began with Independent Worm Saloon, which basically means it's a loud guitar rock album. Even though there's potential for the record to become unnecessarily generic, it's to the Buttholes' credit that they still have the desire to throw enough bizarre wrenches into the machinery to keep most of their diehard audience satiated. Certainly, Electriclarryland will sound way too tame for fans of Locust Abortion Technican and Hairway to Steven, and they're right, to a certain extent. For listeners accustomed to their unhinged, perverse '80s recordings, there is nothing on this guitar-heavy record to please them. But Electriclarryland is a logical maturation for the band. It's odd to think of the Buttholes maturing, but that is the case with this album. They have a couple of jangly pop numbers that appear to be played relatively straight and the heavier numbers have a piledriving inevitability that make them memorable. In short, Electriclarryland rocks and it rocks hard, with enough energy for bands half of the Buttholes' age. And underneath the seemingly normal surface, the Buttholes have thrown in enough jokes and have twisted around enough clichés to prove that the band may mature, but they'll never really grow up.

Spiritual Unity - (1964)

Spiritual Unity was the album that pushed Albert Ayler to the forefront of jazz's avant-garde, and the first jazz album ever released by Bernard Stollman's seminal ESP label. It was really the first available document of Ayler's music that matched him with a group of truly sympathetic musicians, and the results are a magnificently pure distillation of his aesthetic. Bassist Gary Peacock's full-toned, free-flowing ideas and drummer Sunny Murray's shifting, stream-of-consciousness rhythms (which rely heavily on shimmering cymbal work) are crucial in throwing the constraints off of Ayler's playing. Yet as liberated and ferociously primitive as Ayler sounds, the group isn't an unhinged mess — all the members listen to the subtler nuances in one another's playing, pushing and responding where appropriate. Their collective improvisation is remarkably unified — and as for the other half of the album's title, Ayler conjures otherworldly visions of the spiritual realm with a gospel-derived fervor. Titles like "The Wizard," "Spirits," and "Ghosts" (his signature tune, introduced here in two versions) make it clear that Ayler's arsenal of vocal-like effects — screams, squeals, wails, honks, and the widest vibrato ever heard on a jazz record — were sonic expressions of a wildly intense longing for transcendence. With singable melodies based on traditional folk songs and standard scales, Ayler took the simplest musical forms and imbued them with a shockingly visceral power — in a way, not unlike the best rock & roll, which probably accounted for the controversy his approach generated. To paraphrase one of Ayler's most famous quotes, this music was about feelings, not notes, and on Spiritual Unity that philosophy finds its most concise, concentrated expression. A landmark recording that's essential to any basic understanding of free jazz. (

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Time Of Land EP - (2010)

Time of Land is evidence of a band emerging from their first recordings (which are excellent in it of themselves) with a broader palette to offer listeners as the new ideas further live up to the promise and execution of the first album from Have a Nice Life. Swirling keyboard and other assorted electronic sounds bulwark cavernous sounding drum machines that give a heartbeat to the EP, all provide quiet a dense sound that truly creates quite an atmosphere. The vocals are a big kicker on Time of Land as they help to bring a cohesiveness to the EP through the mellow songs ("Wizards of the Black Hundreds" and "The Parhelic Circle") and the more pop songs ("Woe Unto Us" and "The Icon and the Axe"), which one would be hard pressed to find catchier dark pop than these right now. Time of Land is a mostly mellow affair with quite a bit of catchy pop elements that draw the listener into its waves of pleasant atmospherics and deceivingly unassuming vocals that play at not being the center of attention while subtly grabbing the spotlight at times while not sacrificing the overall moods and melodies of the songs on the EP.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Jamboree - (1988)

Co-produced by Steve Fisk and the Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan and Gary Lee Conner, Beat Happening's brief, brilliant sophomore effort significantly expands the trio's horizons without sacrificing any of their naïve charm. Sporting a fuller, more intricate sound and stronger songs than their debut, Jamboree crystallizes the trio's love-rock aesthetic in its embryonic stages; veering sharply from the idyllic drones of the perennial "Indian Summer" to the poignant crush-pop of "Cat Walk" to the indie-party classic "Midnight a Go-Go," each cut is a marvel of innocence and ingenuity.

Moanin' - (1958)

Moanin' includes some of the greatest music Blakey produced in the studio with arguably his very best band. There are three tracks that are immortal and will always stand the test of time. The title selection is a pure tuneful melody stewed in a bluesy shuffle penned by pianist Bobby Timmons, while tenor saxophonist Benny Golson's classy, slowed "Along Came Betty" and the static, militaristic "Blues March" will always have a home in the repertoire of every student or professional jazz band. "Are You Real?" has the most subtle of melody lines, and "Drum Thunder Suite" has Blakey's quick blasting tom-tom-based rudiments reigning on high as the horns sigh, leading to hard bop. "Come Rain or Come Shine" is the piece that commands the most attention, a highly modified, lilting arrangement where the accompanying staggered, staccato rhythms contrast the light-hearted refrains. Certainly a complete and wholly satisfying album, Moanin' ranks with the very best of Blakey and what modern jazz offered in the late '50s and beyond. (

Saturday, July 17, 2010

La Planete Sauvage (The Fantastic Planet) - Original Soundtrack Recording - (1973,2000)

In 2000, the European label DC Recordings reissued on CD the soundtrack from the cult sci-fi animated film La Planète Sauvage (released in English as The Fantastic Planet). The René Laloux film, which won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, was supported by a soundtrack by Alain Goraguer, mostly known for his work as Serge Gainsbourg's arranger. Goraguer's music consists of 25 short vignettes. Each is a contextualized adaptation of one of three main musical themes. The main theme is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother Suite" (same half-time tempo, mellotron, harpsichord, and wah-wah guitar), and the other two are a ballad and a circus-like waltz. The music is very '70s-clichéd and will appeal to fans of French and Italian '70s soundtrack stylings. Although repetitive, the album itself creates an interesting marijuana-induced sci-fi floating mood, blending psychedelia, jazz, and funk (the album has been sampled by a few hip-hop artists). The 16-page booklet includes stills from the film, a description of the plot, and biographical notes on the composer, the director, and the illustrator, all in English — but, alas, no musicians' credits. DC Recordings reissued the album on both CD and LP, the latter version also including a poster. (

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Settle Down City - (2006)

Taken at the member level, Louisville's Young Widows are basically the second coming of the defunct Breather Resist, since everyone but singer Steve Sindoni is present. But one listen to Settle Down City, Young Widows' debut for Jade Tree, and it's pretty apparent that the name change was warranted: this is a new band with a new sound. Not that the two bands couldn't share a bill together, but the Young Widows trio is a step removed from the metallic hardcore chaos of Breather with their noise rock-inspired post-punk grooves. They take a lot of cues from bands like the Jesus Lizard, and consequently, fans of such will find much to like here (take special note of "Glad He Ate Her," whose title is more than coincidental). The guys love distortion and reverb, with songs like "Formerer," the vocal freak-out "The First Half," and the confrontational "Almost Dead Beat" thriving on it amidst discordant playing where instruments and vocals all crash off each other to land in a wonderful musical heap on the floor. But nothing is just plain noisy; there is always solid playing to guide each note along. Evan Patterson's guitar work remains excellent as always, and he takes over main vocals with more of a cathartic yell than a harsh hardcore growl. Its effect doesn't knock listeners over on impact, but coupled with the bashing drums of Geoff Paton and throbbing basslines of Nick Thieneman, the emotionally charged sonic attack of Young Widows is as unsettling as it is compelling. (

Geri Reig - (1980)

Pop music has never sounded stranger than on Der Plan's debut full-length, Geri Reig, a unique blend of Residents-inspired experimental pop and innovative electronics. A cohesive and endlessly listenable record, it creates a sense of detachment and mystery found in all the best records of the new wave era. Startlingly unique, Geri Reig helped define the sound that Der Plan and their record label, Ata Tak, would fully develop throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Silver Session For Jason Knuth - (1998)

Of the many strange recordings released by Sonic Youth over the course of their long career, few measure up to Silver Session for Jason Knuth. On the inside of the CD sleeve, guitarist Thurston Moore explains the unique situation involving this record and what sort of music to expect. Sonic Youth have been known to drift away from the pop/rock precedent with their tendency to incorporate untraditionally tuned guitars, feedback-driven noise, incoherent lyrics, and odd song structures into their music. On this record, though, they completely abandon any sort of rock-related clichés, instead delivering eight songs of lively guitar feedback. According to Moore, while the band tried to record the vocals for their A Thousand Leaves album one evening, a band in the neighboring studio proceeded to play "some funky metal overdrive." Frustrated over the incident, Sonic Youth turned every amplifier in their studio to ten-plus and leaned as many guitars as they could against them, creating a cacophony of ear-piercing feedback. The group recorded the session and mixed it into digestible sections. Surprisingly, the resulting record has quite a serene feel, with the feedback taking on a beautiful ambient aura. The record also functions as an ode to Jason Knuth, a Sonic Youth fan who committed suicide. Proceeds from the CD went to San Francisco Suicide Prevention Hotline. Don't consider this one of the influential group's most important albums by any means, but do consider it an interesting addition to their catalog, intended mainly for loyal fans. (

Liumin - (2010)

Although the vapor trails of dub still colour the essence of much of this new material, ‘Liumin’ is an altogether more ‘destroyed’ experience than its predecessor, opening with the washed-out, beatless sequence of ‘In Echospace’, a track that somehow manages to harness the disorientating experience of being a stranger in a strange land, with only the flickering glow of neon lights for company. The album unfurls with stretches of immersive techno and low-end treatments compressed with a growling, unstable focus that’s in turn oppressive and soothing, re-creating the uniquely ambiguous euphoria/narcosis that comes with extended sleep deprivation. It’s an effect that’s perhaps encapsulated best on ‘BCN Dub’, a heaving warehouse thump that’s entwined with shortwave radio transmissions bringing to life a disembodied horn-section from deep in the ether. There may well be some connection to dub lurking deep in the foggy mists of these recordings – but ‘Liumin’ inhabits far more opaque and unsettling terrain to anything you may have heard from both this project, or any of its many imitators.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Second Time Around - (1992)

Ghost's second album, released one year after their self-titled debut, saw a slight shift in the lineup, with Krishna replaced by Iwao Yamazaki on percussion. Guest performer Kazuo Ogino also became permanent, introduced with his Celtic harp on the opening "People Get Freedom," while multi-instrumentalist Takizawa and bassist/singer Kohji Nishino remain from Ghost's debut. As always, Batoh remained the center around which everyone revolved, with even more eerily beautiful and powerful music than before. All members were credited with a large number of percussion instruments, from bell tree and Tibetan bells to "some nameless bells and stones," further intensifying the aura of ancient and mysterious rites that hangs through Ghost's music. The blend of influences both Western and Eastern results in a series of fine syntheses, perhaps even stronger than on Ghost. "Higher Power," with oboe and finger cymbals among other things, and "First Drop of the Sea," which could almost be a calmer Scott Walker number from the late '60s, both capture this sense of broad listening to grand effect. Batoh can be as straightforward as he chooses, as on the title track. He almost sounds a bit like Bowie in lighter cabaret mode (an approach he generally maintains throughout the record) even while the acid folk atmosphere gently kicks along, sometimes with quiet drama in the arrangements. When the band fully kicks in, as on the rolling "Forthcoming from the Inside," everything achieves powerful heights as a result. His lyrics throughout are often quite striking — his images are ceremonious, seeking the spiritual amid the mundane, and more often than not, make a lot more sense than the fuzzier hoo-hah coming from his West Coast psych/Krautrock forebears. (

"Down By Law" Original Soundtrack - (1988)

If John Lurie's music is most aptly described as "fake jazz" (his own description), then there are few better places to experience its fakeness than here. No matter how that sounds, it's a compliment. Lurie's earliest lineups of his Lounge Lizards featured Arto Lindsay in a deconstructive, crunching mode, and the octet that plays the roughly 19 minutes of music for Jim Jarmusch's cult classic Down by Law features not only Lindsay but also his successor, Marc Ribot, among others. They play 13 atmospheric vignettes (again, in 19 minutes!), always forcing the ear back onto the nuggets, as if Lurie is tugging at you to acknowledge that a) his is a strong, idiosyncratic ear for the meeting of auditory and visual elements; and b) his is a music built out of cells like this, which in future versions of the Lounge Lizards have served as the brick and mortar of his additive compositional techniques. Yes, there's too little music from Down by Law, but you do also get nearly 18 minutes of music from Betty Gordon's Variety, this time played with straighter rhythms, albeit ones with titles like "Porno Booth" and "Garter Belt." The band on the latter film's music is Lurie's after-Lindsay outfit, with his brother Evan on piano. The music is stylized without being overstuffed and aptly sultry and noirish. If anyone had doubts about Lurie's manifold talents, this set should confirm that he's been on similar aesthetic roads to his late-1990s bands for many years.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We Are To Answer - (2009)

Their very name, "Ancient Astronauts," implies a mash-up of the distant past and the far future; traits exemplified in their melding of old school hip hop, funk, and dub reggae with forward-thinking flair and production technique. The Ancient Astronauts are Kabanjak and Dogu hailing from Cologne, Germany...via outer space! Coy with their true origins, the duo can only confirm that they returned to planet Earth in 2001 after traveling the musical cosmos for thousands of years. Those familiar with the phenomenon of "ancient astronauts," a belief that extraterrestrial beings visited Earth in ancient times to mingle and trade ideas with early human civilizations, won't be surprised that upon returning this particular spaced-out duo quickly set up a terrestrial sound studio, a record label (Switchstance Recordings), and a successful production, remixing and DJ career dropping sound bombs all over the world. Already having remixed for Fort Knox Five, Up Bustle & Out, Ladybug Mecca of Digable Planets, Zion I, and Dr. Rubberfunk, the Ancient Astronauts have linked up with a variety of new sonic collaborators including Bootie Brown and Imani of legendary hip hop group The Pharcyde, Azeem, Tippa Irie, Bajka, Phat Old Mamas, Ulf Stricker, Raashan Ahmad and Entropik to record their debut album We Are To Answer! A block-rockin' boom-bappin' sonic tour-de-force, We Are To Answer is a musical vision of life on Earth and beyond.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lick My Decals Off, Baby - (1970)

Produced by Captain Beefheart himself, Lick My Decals Off, Baby was a further refining and exploration of the musical ideas posited on Trout Mask Replica. As such, the imaginative fervor of Trout Mask is toned down somewhat, but in its place is an increased self-assurance; the tone of Decals is also a bit darker, examining environmental issues in some songs rather than simply concentrating on surreal wordplay. Whatever the differences, the jagged, complex rhythms and guitar interplay continue to amaze. Those wanting to dig deeper after the essential Trout Mask Replica are advised to begin doing so here.

Smoke Song - (2010)

Smoke Song's more gentle exposition starts with band member Adam Davenport's santoor (a type of hammered dulcimer) leading the band into a lengthy mid-tempo groove on 'Smoke Song,' followed on the second half of the side by the short, quiet 'Cholita Maria.' The second side's 17-minute 'Get It?' lays down the tremolo and phase in a manner reminiscent of the best Spacemen 3 comedowns, taking a pulse and riding it into organ- and percussion- fueled bliss.

Related Posts with Thumbnails